Environmental Case Study: MPE, Inc. and Peterson Oil




Family-owned Peterson Oil has been serving Central Massachusetts since 1946 with heating oil delivery and service, as well as plumbing and equipment installation. The company maintains four bulk storage facilities, with its main location in Worcester. In 1999, one year after this state-of-art facility was built, Peterson Oil decided to expand with a 275,000 gallon tank.


For both the original design and expansion, the company turned to MPE, which has been designing and constructing bulk storage facilities to be SPCC compliant for over 20 years.


In 2010, after a number of other facilities in the Worcester area were shut down due to being non-compliant, Peterson Oil saw the need to further expand and upgrade its operation.


Since MPE is a full-service company providing all services required at bulk terminal facilities’including top and bottom loading, blending, automation, tanks, inspections, SPCC Plans, fire protection, canopies, pumps, engineering services, and more’once again, Peterson Oil entrusted MPE with the project. 


The expansion resulted in doubling the size of the loading/unloading area from two bays to four bays and the addition of a 15,000 gallon double-wall tank for dyed diesel or possibly a biodiesel mixture to B100 as well. The current facility has over 500,000 gallons of fuel oil and diesel products. It is a secured fenced in site with automated gates that are controlled by the Fuelmaster system for entry.


The tank containment area has the capacity to hold the largest tank (275,000 gallons) plus the amount of rain in a 25 year storm as required by SPCC regulations.  The containment dike has a sump with a normally closed valve that is opened after a rainstorm and closed at the end of the day or when the dike is drained whichever comes first.  When this valve is opened, the dike drains through an Oil Water Separator (OWS) that discharges to the city sewer system.


There is a four bay loading rack with two offloading positions for the transports that will unload the trailers at 550 to 600 gallons per minute.  All tanks are filled by dedicated offload pumps and the PTO on the transports could be used as a backup if there was a power outage.  Each loading bay has a fuel oil loading arm and there is a loading arm for on-road (clear) diesel and off-road (dyed) diesel.


During the early morning rush, four fuel oil delivery trucks can be filling simultaneously, and later, around 8 a.m., there could be two transports unloading’still leaving two bays for delivery trucks to load. There is also a transfer loading arm to move product from a transport to a delivery truck.  All loading arms are supplied by 25hp pumps that will fill the trucks at a flow rate of 500 to 600 gpm.


Each loading bay is set up with a Scully Ground Hog system that needs to be connected to the transports to unload or to the delivery trucks to load.  If the Ground Hog cord is not connected to the trucks, then the pumps will not operate.  Not only does this properly ground/bond the trucks, but it also adds the feature of shutting off the pump when the cord is disconnected.  This helps prevent a pump being left running by a driver, which could cause severe damage to the pump.


Because this location is being used for a through-put operation for most of the oil companies in the Worcester area, there is also a Fuelmaster key/card system that MPE installed to control the use of the facility.  The drivers need to insert their Prokey and enter their ID number in order to authorize a specific loading arm to be used.  The Fuelmaster system records the amount of product loaded into the trucks and is used for invoicing purposes.  The Fuelmaster will also shut-down the loading arm if it does not see product flowing for 90 seconds.


Access to the top of the delivery trucks is made possible by two loading platforms constructed by MPE that are about the same height as the top of the trucks.  The loading platforms are accessed by a set of steel stairs constructed to current codes.  There are aluminum gangways installed to access the top of the trucks to make it safe for the drivers.  Also there are safety rails suspended down from the canopy over the truck positions for the drivers to hold onto.  Also this safety rail is used for the location of the pump start and stop switch so it is readily accessible to the drivers. 


The containment system for the loading rack will contain over 11,000 gallons and is a passive system.  There is a canopy over the entire loading pad to keep most of the snow and rain from entering the containment area.  The loading pad is pitched to catch basins that will contain a small spill and any large spills flow from the catch basins to a concrete containment sump.  Should a major spill occur all the product would be captured and can be pumped out of the containment sump as good product.  Small amounts of water that do get into the containment sump will evaporate or can be pumped out.


In addition to the bulk storage operation, there are also four dispensers with dual nozzles that can be used for fleet fueling of school buses as well as Peterson’s own vehicles. This would include the dispensing of biodiesel.

MPE, Inc., based in Hebron, Conn., specializes in bulk facility design and construction of inland terminals as well as upgrades to existing facilities.  MPE has also provided extensive design services for upgrades to many of the marine terminals in New England.


MPE is currently working on the design and construction of a new biofuel production facility scheduled to go on line later this year producing 5,000 gallons a day with expansion planned for next year to 10,000 gallons per day.


MPE Contact Information:




Email: rceppi@mpeusa.com


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