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Propane tank used by Carbon County illegally installed

Published March 30. 2012 05:01PM

A propane tank utilized by Carbon County has found to be illegally installed.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, Commissioner William O'Gurek announced that the board's concerns that were aired on March 23, were found to be correct.

The problem is the location of an underground propane tank at District Judge Homanko's office in Weatherly. It currently is installed only four feet away from the building, when regulations require it to be installed at least 10 feet away. The office space is currently rented by the county and is owned by Claudio Gambino of New Jersey.

O'Gurek said on March 27, he and Homanko meet with Nathaniel Smith, a certified state inspector with the Department of Labor and Industry about the status of the tank. Smith said that the tank is installed illegally and would need to be emptied and moved. A letter from the state will be sent to Gambino informing him of the necessary action.

"The issues that we had been concerned about with safety are certainly coming to fruition," he said to his colleagues.

Commissioner Thomas J. Gerhard said that he spoke with officials at Superior Plus, the current gas supplier; as well as Amerigas, the former gas supplier.

He informed O'Gurek and Commissioner Wayne Nothstein, chairman, that on April 4, Amerigas will be on-site to pump out the remaining propane from that tank and reimburse the county for the fuel.

Gerhard then questioned why the previous board of commissioners didn't catch this problem before now, considering this tank has been getting filled by the county since 2000.

O'Gurek responded by saying he had just learned of the problem in February, when R.F. Ohl of Lehighton inspected the tanks for preparation to bid on the contract.

He commended Ohl for being responsible and inspecting the tanks and pointing out the problem.

Gerhard also commended Ohl's for their service.

Gerhard added that in addition to the issue at Homanko's office, there was a safety issue with the propane tanks at the Penn State Extension office that had been corrected. Previously, the lids to the tanks, where the shut off valves were located, were sealed and could not be easily opened without the use of a tool. That caused a safety problem because of the potential for sparks to occur.

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