a Canadian Twist
When an oil tank farm needed secondary containment, they turned
to American cutting-edge technology and Canadian application skill
for a cross-border industrial coatings project
BY JEN KRAMER
The North Dakota prairie is home to all manner of native species of plants and animals, including elk, antelope, whitetail deer, bighorn sheep, coyote,
prairie chicken, pheasant, wild turkey, eagles, falcons, and
the ubiquitous prairie dog. It is also a site for operations for
the American oil and gas industry due to large deposits of
oil deep below the rolling grass. Thus, a drive through the
scenic area will reveal a stand of oil derricks methodically
pumping amid the hills, while tank farms silently rise from
the sweeping plain like steel ghost towns.
It was on one such oil tank farm that the secondary
containment system was in need of replacement. Although
the tanks themselves were in perfect condition, the fail-safe standing between the vulnerable grassland ecosystem
and thousands of gallons of salt water that had been used
in the oil drilling process – was in bad shape.
“The holding tanks for salt water disposal at the oil tank
site were surrounded by a secondary containment system
that was no longer working,” says Trevor Edmunds,
President of Westoba Spray Foam. “The heavy plastic
sheeting had torn and been subsequently covered with
gravel, which had torn the plastic even further. It was in
need of total replacement.”
The specification called for geotextile fabric coated with
polyurea to create a durable, impenetrable shield between
the base of the tanks and the surrounding area.
BIDS ACROSS THE BORDER
Based in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada, Edmunds was
alerted to the job by his contacts at Rhino Linings.
“We’ve been spraying oil field coatings for years up
here in Canada. It took about six months to organize
the paperwork to bid on the project in North Dakota,”
Edmunds explains. “Then, when we won, I couldn’t use
my Canadian crew. I had to put together a crew of U.S.
workers. Also, because of my status as a Canadian citizen,
I could only work as a Supervisor. I couldn’t actually spray
the coatings myself.” This, however, was not a problem
as Edmunds is used to supervising crews. He was able
to quickly assemble a four-man spray crew made up
of American talent. “It was an international venture,”
Edmunds says. “And my American crew was spraying
product from a great American company, Rhino Linings.”
ROCKY PREP WORK
Before the crew could even think about spray-applying
any coatings, they first had to prep the area – that included
removing the failed containment already in place.
(cont’d on the next page)