City needs to take the lead in propane and seismic regulations

It is quite obvious officials did not fully assess the city’s serious deficiencies. Denying code requirements for embedded foundations and footings as well as seismic requirements for a 6-foot concrete wall for over 7 years certainly is not consistent with the accolades noted.

Propane is heavier than air and does not dissipate like natural gas. Industry safety standards say to avoid installations where propane leaks can accumulate in depressions or where air currents will push it into areas it can be trapped. FEMA’s advice is to learn from previous disasters. Earlier this month, a cabin on Hood Canal was destroyed by a propane explosion, resulting in five fatalities.

Propane rules also say to avoid storing heavy or tall objects near propane tanks. Surely, a concrete wall designed to fail toward a large tank is a violation of this advice.

Washington state is last place in earthquake preparedness. There are no requirements for earthquake strapping of large propane tanks. Our mayor says Auburn is a leader. This is a perfect opportunity for Auburn to live up to the City Livability Award and lead in earthquake safety. Adopting common sense propane and seismic regulations ignored by current codes will go a long way toward making Auburn a safe and livable city.

– Bob Zimmerman

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