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Crude Oil Railcar Facility - Tacoma, Washington

Sitts & Hill Engineers, Inc. was r awarded the contract to design a new 60-railcar crude oil unloading facility. The rail yard will have six spurs with the ability to expand to an additional 108 railcars in the future. The project was divided into three phases to expedite permitting and get an early start on construction. The first phase involved providing alternate containment volume for six storage tanks (~70,000 bbl each) affected by the expansion. This was accomplished by designing a containment wall and relocating the existing berm. The second phase involved relocation of an existing fire main and installation of additional fire hydrants and sectional valves.

The overall rail yard design was designed entirely in 3D and concurrently with the initial phases. This allowed the main project to be submitted for permit while the other phases were constructed. Early in the design, alternative options were considered for the required spill containment under the rail cars. Options included constructing a liner using PVC membrane or concrete. After a cost/benefit analysis was considered, the concrete liner was chosen due to its durability and life expectancy. Design challenges included high groundwater, limited property, minimum rail clearances, and the need for continual access to the facility during the expansion, should it occur.

Notable Facts:

  • 100,000 yd3 of earthwork
  • 6,500 yd3 of concrete
  • 690,000 lb of rebar
  • 326,000 lb of structural steel
  • 23,750 LF of process piping
  • >5,000 of piping welds
  • 142,500 ft of electrical wire
  • 486,000 lb of rail
  • 60 cars unloaded in 4.5 hours (9,333 bbl/hr or 6,500 gal/min)

Photos / Renderings