White Buffalo Hemp Co. & Cannabis IBC Storage Container Solutions

Introduction: White Buffalo Hemp Company

In 2019, White Buffalo Hemp Company—a producer of cannabis products located in Colorado—found their operations growing exponentially. To keep up with production needs, White Buffalo needed capacity to store IBC totes carrying more than 500 gallons of ethanol on-site, a vital compound in the company’s manufacturing process. This demand doubled White Buffalo’s previous capacity of 240 gallons, not only reinforcing their need for optimized storage in limited space, but also the need for chemical storage that could stand up to rigorous safety standards without slowing down manufacturing.

White Buffalo Hemp Company challenged the team at U.S. Chemical Storage to find an efficient solution for their IBC tote storage needs.

Addressing Chemical Storage Needs

Every chemical storage project presents clearly defined storage requirements. Not only did White Buffalo’s project require IBC storage containers for more than 500 gallons of ethanol, but the facility also required chemical access located near processing machinery while maintaining the safety of employees.

As an industrial producer of cannabis products, White Buffalo Hemp Co. relies on ethanol in daily production. Ethanol is an organic chemical compound used to extract cannabis from the plant matter, which can then be used in manufacturing. Ethanol requires careful handling and storage, otherwise it can spark a fire that not only leads to substantial property loss, but also jeopardizes the lives of workers.

Ethanol is classified by the NFPA as a Class 1B Flammable Liquid. It is clear and colorless, and must be stored properly due to its low flashpoint and flammable vapors. Safe ethanol handling and storage requires special equipment including storage containers designed to withstand breaking down from the compounds housed inside of it.

In the case of White Buffalo Hemp Co., they utilized IBC tote storage to hold and dispense the flammable liquid while protecting the ethanol from the environment. If stored improperly, ethanol can release vapors into the atmosphere, creating the possibility of a disastrous fire outbreak with only a spark.

RELATED ARTICLE: EXPERT TIPS FROM U.S. CHEMICAL STORAGE FOR SAFE ETHANOL STORAGE.

Our Targeted Approach

To create an optimized solution for White Buffalo Hemp Company, our teams outlined key concerns that needed to be addressed for their IBC tote storage and chemical storage needs. Together, the White Buffalo and U.S. Chemical Storage teams combined years of chemical storage compliance engineering experience and industrial hemp expertise.

Our engineers determined White Buffalo Hemp Company would be best served by utilizing a FireLoc™ flammable storage building at their facilities. White Buffalo not only needed to consider the safety of flammable liquid storage, but also the location of this storage. Because of the frequency with which their team members would need to access chemicals, White Buffalo agreed to add a flammable liquid storage building at their facility.

It was determined a U.S. Chemical FireLoc™ storage building addressed the need to have flammable chemicals on hand while also prioritizing employee safety. And, as an added bonus, White Buffalo’s brand-new ethanol chemical storage building would be able to be easily moved in the future if the company or operations relocated.

Their custom FireLoc™ came equipped with a large 4-hour fire-rated roll-up door to give employees full access to storage totes; while the 327-gallon capacity containment sump was designed to meet 40 CFR 264.175 code compliance. The final design for White Buffalo also included a 1-nozzle water sprinkler system and an explosion proof C1-D1 mechanical vent with a high CFM (cubic feet per minute) exchange rate to prevent a build-up of potentially combustible fumes and fire.

Timeline & Results

Our process began in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Government shutdowns, supply chain and logistics strains, as well as health and safety concerns threatened to delay the building project. With an end-of-January order date, the client’s project was due to ship mid-March, which happened to be the same time the initial pandemic halted operations around the world.

As a nationwide manufacturer of vital code compliant storage solutions across industries, U.S. Chemical Storage continued production as an essential business, all while following safety precautions set forth by the United States CDC. During this project, we not only adapted to changing safety procedures, but were able to meet our manufacturing deadlines for providing White Buffalo with the safety equipment they needed to continue their own operations.

Upon delivery and installation, Rob, a General Manager at White Buffalo Hemp Company, expressed his gratitude, saying, “I want to thank you and your team for getting this to us. It was a streamlined process, and I am pleased with how well everything was coordinated.”

Conclusion

As industrial cannabis and medicinal cannabis applications continue to expand into new parts of the United States, the demand for flammable liquid storage and proper IBC tote storage will become essential to maintaining safe manufacturing processes for further innovation.

Our work with White Buffalo Hemp Company not only positioned the industrial cannabis company to streamline and optimize their production strategy, but also serves as a foundation for expanding into the cannabis industry in the future.

Why Work with Us?

It’s simple. At U.S. Chemical Storage, we specialize in specialization. Our team often works with emerging industries—such as cannabis extraction—to respond to their need for code compliance. Following federal, state, and local regulations as legislation changes and as growth occurs can save your business time and, more importantly, money.

Let us help you work through the requirements to keep your employees and facilities safe and compliant with federal, state, and local safety codes. Get in touch with a technical sales engineer today and learn how U.S. Chemical Storage can help you innovate your industry.

Safe Hazmat Storage Compliance in the Growing Cannabis Extraction Industry

In the last five years, cannabis and many of its derivatives have grown in popularity. Extracts like cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) have transformed both the medicinal and recreational cannabis industry. Previously, your options for cannabis extraction were limited to mostly by hand methods, but today, technology has expedited the process and made it more efficient with the aid of high-pressure compression and other extraction machinery.

Currently, cannabis extractors are in high demand and the industry is expected to grow as more states legalize THC and as more uses are found for CBD. With a growing industry, you can expect increased regulation.

Cannabis extraction
Cannabinoid oil in bottles.

Lagging Regulations

While cannabis has been around since before the common era, it’s facing renewed interest (and scrutiny) in the marketplace. In many cases, like the loophole legalization of Delta-8 THC (1), the federal sales regulations have yet to catch up to the industry. It’s only in 2021 that they have begun to discuss in-depth the standards surrounding cannabis growing, processing, extraction, and testing.

NFPA Developing New Standards

The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) recently sought input on the development of new cannabis fire protection standards. It will expand upon the NFPA1, Fire Code, which addresses fire protection concerns within growing and processing facilities. While NFPA1 only addressed concerns, it didn’t set in stone specific regulation. This new standard will address the protection of those facilities and set education, inspecting, testing, and maintenance requirements.

However, while the government works to close loopholes in the regulation of production and sales, extraction of the product is already semi-well regulated thanks to the well-established rules regarding hazardous flammable chemicals such as; butane, hexane, and ethanol; and hazardous gases, such as carbon dioxide.

These rules surrounding safe and compliant storage practices are vital to avoiding costly fines, needless production delays, and serious accidents.

U.S. Chemical Storage can provide fully prefabricated compliant buildings for a variety of safe storage and production practices in your extraction business.

Established Chemical Storage Guidelines

As mentioned, there are many chemical storage requirements that are already set in stone. The requirements for flammable liquid and carbon dioxide (both utilized in cannabis extraction methods) are as follows.

Flammable Liquid Storage in Extraction

Extraction Magazine lays out the NFPA National Electric Code requirements well in a December 2020 article. According to the magazine, facilities that house explosive vapors or combustible material have to be equipped with explosion prevention.

cannabis extraction
Scientist holding paper board and controlling rotational vaporizer during CBD oil extraction.

“Extraction facilities must be equipped with specific electrical components and wiring for safety reasons. These regulations are classified as Class 1 Division 1 environments and Class 1 Division 2 environments. One of the main differences is that flammable vapors exist under normal conditions in C1D1 (e.g., extraction), but should only exist under abnormal conditions in C1D2 (e.g., post-processing).” (2)

Classifications & Environment Distinctions

Each classification and division has its own requirements when it comes to what level of protection you need. In extraction and production areas, one way of mitigating the hazards is by using intrinsically safe products and designs where regulators define hazardous areas in classifications, divisions, and zones. The division depends on the probability that they will contain flammable materials.

Intrinsic Safety

There is a difference between intrinsically safe and explosion-proof. The basic principle of intrinsic safety is to lower the electrical and thermal energy of devices to the point where it is impossible for them to generate a spark. The process uses Zener diodes to limit voltage, resistors to limit current, and fuses to shut off the electrical supply. Ultimately, Intrinsically safe products will not spark and start a fire.

Explosion-Proof

Explosion-proof equipment does not limit the power output. Instead, it contains an explosion internally. So the product could spark, but the unit is built in such a way to contain it. Heavy-duty enclosures prevent the spread of ignition to flammable materials nearby.(3)

Carbon Dioxide Gas Storage

For extractors that utilize the Carbon Dioxide (Co2) method of extraction, there are unique concerns. While the gas is non-flammable, it is an odorless and colorless gas that can be deadly even when normal oxygen levels are present.

Cannabis extraction buildings that store Carbon Dioxide tanks can feature sensors and alarms if safe levels are exceeded due to a leak. They should also feature forced or passive ventilation systems depending on the amount of gas that will be stored inside. Since the gas is stored in compressed tanks, it is important to keep it cool. It may explode if heated.(4)

Our Solution

Our U.S. Chemical Storage team manufactures laboratory and chemical storage buildings that can be fully wired and installed with third-party tested intrinsically safe or explosion-proof products for lighting, climate control, ventilation, and more. In addition, each building is equipped with a secondary containment sump to contain spills if any occur and sensors can also be installed to alert you when a spill happens.

Fire suppression systems are crucial to the safety of flammable chemical storage, and US Chemical can use dry-chem or sprinkler systems depending on your MSDS recommendations. All of these features arrived fully installed ready to hook up to your utilities an easy turnkey delivery.

Types of Chemical Storage Buildings for the Cannabis Industry

As you can see, meeting established recommendations is crucial to safety and success when dealing with cannabis production processes.

Bulk Chemical Storage Buildings

Storage of the bulk hazmat chemicals used in the extraction process. These can store chemicals on shelves or racks, in drums or in totes, making them endlessly scaleable.

Extraction Rooms

Occupancy extraction rooms that can be fully climate controlled and outfitted with sinks and ventilation hoods can be utilized as full chemistry labs. This allows your production to easily relocate from one warehouse to another as growth occurs. Everything else can be warehouse space.

Drop Over Storage Buildings

Drop over buildings feature no sump or floor, but are bolted in place around machinery and utilities inside or outside of existing buildings to achieve compliance easily without the expense of site built construction or costly relocation.

Grow with a Partner You Can Trust

Using an experienced company allows you to focus on your business, and lets you rest easy knowing your business is compliant and well prepared for whatever the future of this exciting industry may bring.

To get started determining your business needs, begin with the Building Configurator Tool and explore some of the many options available. You’re able to enter the specifics about any chemicals, gasses, or equipment you need to store and any other relevant MSDS data. Once that’s inputted, our technical sales team can then get started on a quote or continued dialogue.

Source: What Is Delta-8-THC?, Maintaining Compliance As A Cannabis Extractor , Why is Intrinsic Safety Important to Chemical Storage? , Potential Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Asphyxiation Hazard When Filling Stationary Low Pressure CO2 Supply Systems

Hazmat Storage Locker: Ideal for Storing Chemical Drums Safely

Hazardous Materials Storage and Handling

Hazmat Storage Locker

A hazmat storage locker is recommended to use when storing 55-gallon chemical drums and other hazmat. Storing chemical drums requires standard processes to ensure safety and avoid hazards. Most industrial plants store chemical drums to contain a range of different chemicals used in production processes.

Chemicals are essential to many businesses, whether they are used for manufacturing products or cleaning equipment. Although chemicals are mandatory in many industries, the hazardous nature of many chemicals must be addressed before chemicals can be handled or stored onsite. Understanding the risks of storing chemical drums and having the ability to take steps to minimize those risks is essential to helping work-environments stay safe.

Hazmat storage locker features include racks, shelving, fire suppression and ventilation that are important to keep in mind when it comes to storing 55-gallon chemical drums safely.  Even chemicals that are benign can potentially still be hazardous in the right circumstances. Climate control, proper inventory procedures and storage guidelines are critical to prevent uncontrolled chemical reactions, hazmat spills and minimize worker exposures.

Regulatory Considerations for Hazmat Storage

When storing chemical drums, institutions including the EPA, NFPA and OSHA address certain standards for hazmat storage locker compliance.

According to the EPA, a secondary containment system must have enough capacity to contain 10% of the volume of containers or the volume of the largest container, whichever is greater. Spilled or leaked waste and accumulated precipitation must be removed in a timely manner in order to prevent overflow of the collection system. The containment system base must be sloped or designed and operated to drain and remove liquids resulting from a spill, leak or precipitation; unless containers are elevated or protected from contact with accumulated liquids.

The NFPA 30 Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code, NFPA 400 Hazardous Material Code and the NFPA 1 Fire Code offer a better understanding for safe handling and storage of hazmat. Property setbacks, storage of flammable materials and spacing between chemical storage lockers must all be considered when housing hazardous materials inside a hazmat storage locker.

Regulatory considerations addressed by OSHA include the following:

  • Storage of flammable liquids (29 CFR 1910.106)
  • Compressed gas storage (29 CFR 1910)
  • Communicating chemical hazards under the Laboratory Standard (29 CFR 1910.1450)
  • Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200)

Most states address hazardous material storage through building codes which can incorporate NFPA Codes, BOCA Codes and UBC Codes. When using a hazmat storage locker, be sure to check with local officials and your local fire marshal to ensure all regulations are met.

Types of Hazmat Storage

Store drums safely

Hazardous materials vary greatly depending on industry and end user. Below is a list of chemicals commonly stored inside prefabricated hazmat storage lockers by U.S. Chemical Storage.

Customize Hazardous Materials Lockers for Inventory Best Practices

Safety should always be top of mind when storing hazardous materials in a hazmat storage locker. See below for some inventory best practices to ensure chemicals are safely stored and maintained.

  • Ensure all containers, drums, totes are labeled with proper signage before storing. Close containers when not in use.
  • Organization is important. Never store chemical drums in walkways or exit-ways, or anywhere on the floor. Use racks and shelves to keep inventory organized.
  • Store chemicals according to chemical class and compatibility first. For example, keep acids away from bases and oxidizers separate from organics, etc. Segregate incompatible materials in separate hazmat storage lockers or with partition walls.
  • Maintain hazmat storage locker temperatures per manufacturer requirements. We offer temperature control options for both heating and cooling.
  • Customize each hazmat storage locker with accessories for each type of chemical being stored, including but not limited to, integral fire suppression systems, mechanical or passive ventilation, explosion- or non-explosion-proof lighting, etc.

Store Chemical Drums Safely in a Hazmat Storage Locker

No matter what kind of hazardous material you need to store, U.S. Chemical Storage can provide the hazmat storage locker solution to keep you safe and compliant. Contact us today for a free quote.

Engineered Organic Peroxide Storage Solutions

Designed to protect and maintain organic peroxides and similar flammable and corrosive chemical groups. Flammable chemical storage lockers offer customizable safety accessories including, but not limited to temperature controls, vapor detection, corrosion protection, mechanical ventilation and more.

Learn more about EPA, NFPA and OSHA approved, organic peroxide chemical storage buildings below.

About Organic Peroxides

Organic peroxides are any organic compound having two oxygen atoms linked together. These type of peroxides can cause severe fire and explosion hazards. Utilizing fire-rated storage buildings helps prevent the dangers of the substances being stored. Organic peroxides are heavily used in rubber and plastic industries as hardeners, curing agents, activatory and catalysts. Available forms of organic peroxides include solids, powders, pastes or even liquids.

A U.S. Chemical Storage hazmat locker

The common hazards with organic peroxides include fire and explosion. The hazardous chemical can also be corrosive, depending on the material. Organic peroxides can also decompose, which causes a heat that rises as the temperature increases. This is a fire danger that must be addressed before storing. Contact your local fire marshal on regulations regarding statewide and countywide regulations.

How to Store Organic Peroxides

Chemical storage lockers are designed specifically for storing organic peroxides and variations of the general “peroxy” group. These safe storage lockers are built to withstand hazardous situations including combustion, explosions, fires and corrosion. Built from heavy-gauge steel and constructed by certified and experienced welders.

Chemical storage buildings can be configured to meet 2- or 4-hour fire ratings for storing organic peroxide and other flammable materials nearby operating facilities to achieve maximum operational efficiency. Utilize shelving and racks when storing liquid forms, and/ or solids for optimal storage capacity. Chemical storage buildings are designed with fiberglass grate flooring to protect against corrosion, as well as temperature control units to protect lithium ion batteries from overheating or freezing.

Organic peroxides should be stored in a fire-rated chemical storage building to achieve full protection against fires, explosions or combustion. Fire-rated chemical storage buildings can be configured with safety accessories

U.S. Chemical Storage Advantages

  • Durable Steel Construction for Added Security, Protection, and Longevity
  • Non-Fire Rated or Fire Rated Construction Available
  • Explosion Proof and Non-Explosion Proof Accessories Available
  • 15-Year Structural Warranty
  • 100% Customizable and Compliant
  • EPA Compliant Spill Containment

How should my chemical storage building be designed?

Start by speaking with one of our experienced Technical Sales Engineers to learn about the needs of your application. They will want to know what type of chemicals you are storing? How much of it will you be storing? What proximity to other buildings, people, egress paths, or environmental features will it need to be? Do you require special spill containment? And from there they’ll ask any related questions that determine additional options; Material Handling – Climate Control – Ventilation – Occupancy – Lights – Sensors – Alarms – Door Styles – Eyewash Stations and other requirements are not uncommon. Answers to these questions will dictate the building’s fire rating construction as well as anything else you’ll need for proper code compliance.

How will location affect my building type?

Location of the building can be either inside another building or outside to fit your needs. Fire Separation, which is the amount of fire rating required between two occupancies, or the separation distance between those two occupancies, is determined by the type of chemical or hazard being stored, and distances between buildings, egress pathways, or environmental features. To determine the required fire separation, it is best to consult with your local code authority. Inside another building or within 10 feet of another building, you’ll be required to have a 4-hour fire rating. If your hazmat storage building is located at distances 30 feet or greater your building may not be required to have a fire rating at all.

Do I need shelves?

Shelves are used to help keep smaller containers of chemicals organized. U.S. Chemical Storage offers a variety of shelving for your specific application. Most commonly used is a galvanized steel shelf with a 2-inch wall around the perimeter. The leak-proof containment sump lip around the edge will prevent small spills from reaching the floor.

What is a sump or secondary containment in reference to chemical storage buildings?

The definition of a “sump” is a pit or reservoir providing containment for spilled liquids. U.S. Chemical Storage offers leak-proof spill containment sumps in each standard model. All our sumps are tested for leaks for a 24-hour period prior to finishing. The sump is then covered by a steel or fiberglass floor grating and can even be equipped with a resistant plastic sump liner to protect against corrosive chemical accidental spills. The size of the sump is dictated by code based on the volume of liquid being stored within the building.

How do I comply with regulations?

Chemical storage buildings manufactured by U.S. Chemical Storage are designed to get your operation compliant. Contact one of our technical sales engineers to learn how we can find the best solution for your compliance needs. You will also want to learn more about specific chemical storage requirements in your specific area by contacting your local “Authority Having Jurisdiction” (AHJ) who could be a local fire marshal, a municipal code official, or a city environmental department.

What size building do I need?

Building size is determined by the amount of hazardous material you are planning to store, the need for occupancy or inspection around these materials, and must take into consideration the most efficient way of moving these materials into and out of your chemical storage building.