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PSC opens West Memphis location; facility enhancements continuing

March 1, 2010
PSC CONTAINER Services Division's leadership probably couldn't have picked a better spot for a new tank wash rack to serve the greater Memphis market.

PSC CONTAINER Services Division's leadership probably couldn't have picked a better spot for a new tank wash rack to serve the greater Memphis market. The facility sits almost exactly between Interstates 55 and 40 in West Memphis, Arkansas.

The wash rack is the latest addition to the PSC network, which now stands at 21 US locations. It is part of the company's current campaign to expand operations in southeast, mid-South, and southwest. In addition, the West Memphis wash rack reflects PSC's continuing push to offer more foodgrade cleaning services.

“West Memphis is another step in PSC's effort to grow our tank wash network and offer high-quality tank cleaning services to our customers across the United States,” says Greg Winters, PSC vice-president of sales. “We listen to our customers, and we add facilities in markets where there is demand. We had not previously had a presence in the Memphis market.

“We are making a significant investment in the tank cleaning network expansion. We are spending somewhere between $1.5 million and $2 million on each new location.”

Five wash bays

PSC's five-bay West Memphis wash rack offers chemical and foodgrade cleaning and is located at 400 Mound City Rd. The phone number is 870-732-2255, and the fax is 870-732-2289. Wash rack operating hours are 6 am to 11:30 pm, Monday through Friday, and the facility accepts weekend callouts. Customers should call ahead for cleaning limitations. Customers also can request a copy of the National Tank Truck Carriers Cleaning Audit for the facility.

"We will increase to a 24-hour operation as tank cleaning volumes grow,” says Lamar Promise, PSC service center manager in West Memphis. “We can clean more than 50 chemical tanks a day with the current wash rack staff of five workers. We project cleaning 20 or so tanks a day on the foodgrade side as that operation comes up to speed. We hired two more wash workers for the foodgrade side.

“We can handle just about any product on the chemical side of our operation, with the exception of PCBs (polychlorinated biphyenyls) and a few other substances. We certainly can clean tank trailers that have handled the typical products moving through this area — water treatment compounds, light oils and additives, latex, and foods (such as sweeteners and edible oils). We are in the final stages of obtaining the kosher and other certifications we need for foodgrade cleaning.”

As is the case at a number of the PSC wash racks, the West Memphis location will be able to handle both tank trailers and ISO tank containers. However, the wash rack currently lacks a lift, which means tank containers will have to be on a chassis throughout the cleaning process. A yard tractor is available for repositioning trailers.

“We believe that tank container activity will grow in the Memphis area in coming years,” Winters says. “Memphis has been targeted as an inland port that can alleviate growing congestion in west coast ports by placing containers on rail into Memphis. With this new wash rack, we are ready to serve that market.”

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PSC executives spent several years studying the Memphis market, which included a number of dedicated fleet-owned wash rack, but just one commercial tank cleaning facility. Initial studies also indicated that the greatest need was for chemical cleaning.

The study team found a good location in the busy industrial area between Interstates 55 and 40. Another company had run a commercial tank cleaning rack on the property for a number of years, but the facility had been closed for about six years. In addition to the building that had housed the previous wash rack, the 10-acre site included other structures and a large parking area.

The deal for the property was completed in March 2009, and a contractor went to work modifying the main building to meet PSC requirements. Stage one of the facility makeover was finished by late summer, and the wash rack cleaned its first chemical tank trailer on August 17, 2009.

The contractor completely gutted the 10,000-sq-ft building containing the wash rack. The roof was raised six feet to provide ample room for the fall protection system for the cleaning of dry bulk trailers. New drainage and sumps were installed in the five wash bays. A new room was constructed for the 50-horsepower Superior boiler and the Kaeser system that provides breathing air for confined-space work in tank trailers.

Vat system

Workers installed the vat-style wash system, mezzanines, and work platforms that PSC uses in all of its cleaning facilities. The wash rack systems were designed in-house and are fabricated in PSC shops or by approved contractors.

The chemical cleaning system in the West Memphis wash rack includes vats for hot water, cold water, detergent, caustic, and boosted caustic. Solutions
are pumped through the tank trailers being cleaned by 50-hp Gorman Rupp pumps. A tote contains a deodorizer system for treating butyl acrylate and other chemicals with a pungent odor. Sellers 360 spinners are standard equipment for the wash rack.

Initially, all five cleaning bays in the wash rack were designated to clean chemicals. “Initially, our focus was on chemical cleaning, but customers began asking for foodgrade washes as soon as we opened for business,” Promise says. “We responded by dedicating two bays that were still under construction to foodgrade cleaning. We installed a dedicated foodgrade wash system. That work finally was completed in mid-March this year. We have room to add a third foodgrade wash bay if needed.”

The contractor installed a dissolved air floatation system for wastewater treatment and provided a secure area for tank heels and other product residues. An oil/water separator will be added shortly.

Driver facilities

Work continued into 2010 on a driver lounge, rest rooms, and showers. Work on trailer parking also extended into the first quarter of this year. Workers had cleared the existing gravel parking area of trash and debris, but winter snow and rain delayed efforts to pour concrete and put down asphalt.

“As the parking area is currently configured, we have room for about 50 empty tank trailers right now,” Promise says. “In addition, we recently finished pouring a concrete pad for loaded trailers. We still have a lot of space that could be developed on this site, and we probably could expand parking to handle around 300 trailers.”

PSC's West Memphis facility also has space for customer offices and terminal operations. The main building has room for four to eight tenants. A smaller 1,800-sq-ft building on the property could provide four more offices.

Considerable effort has gone into facility security. Ninety percent of the property is fenced, and a security camera system is operational.

Promise emphasizes that PSC's West Memphis facility has
the ability to grow with the market. “We are determined to provide the best possible service and meet our customers' needs today and in the future.”  ♦