Our new building on the Carrington, ND site!

This is our new building on the Carrington North Dakota site!

 The last blog the tanks were installed and the building was being built around them. After the building was enclosed, it was onto the interior. Due to the harsh weather condition in the North Dakota environment the decision was made to use spray foam for insulation. This expanding foam gets into all the spots fiberglass insulation can not. It was amazing how it tightened the building, keeping 50 to 60 mph winds at bay. As you can see the ceiling and walls were coated. One inch of spray foam has an R value of 7. The stand in the picture below is the start of the load out rack and load out office.

Below is what it looks like today! As you can see there are many parts that have to be installed to make the load out area productive, efficient and safe for loading trucks. Other parts added to the process were EPDM hose, stainless steel pipe, electrical systems, fluid meters and pumps. The orange and silver unit mounted on the side of the load out rack is a safety cage for loading trucks.

Congratulations to Dennis Holdgrafer for being the first tanker through the building! Dennis is one of Agroliquid’s truck drivers out of our Williams Iowa facility. Drivers will pull into the building and stop under the safety cage so it can be lowered, allowing our Site Manager Jared Volk to load the trucks safely.

Here are more pictures of the buildings interior.

Our first resident in the spring!

New Rail Header in Goodland.

Agroliquid has expanded the Goodland facility quite a bit over the last couple of years. Two new rail spurs, new load out building and new containment area for 10 – 30,000 gallon tanks. At all our facilities we are constantly looking for ways to streamline and improve our processes. Our Goodland facility was in need of a rail header unload system. When shipping  products with rail cars you don’t want the cars sitting in one spot too long. There are many costs involved when using rail to move products. To alleviate some of the costs incurred, we have installed a new rail header to help speed up the unload process and get those cars back on the tracks across this great country of ours. With this new header system we can hook up and unload 18 tanker rail cars at one time and the person unloading the rail cars will not have to drag a hose from one car to the next, saving them time as well. In the picture below you can see concrete pillars sticking out of the ground. These pillars are the base for the piping. They are 12″ in diameter and very 1″ in height to allow the fluid to drain all the way to the pump. The pillars need to be below the frost line in the ground, which in Kansas is 32″ down in a typical year.


This is a 400′ long by 6″ diameter rail header system. You start the pipe process with 20′ long sections of stainless steel pipe. Cut the pipe where you need to weld in a T fitting with a flange so the valve and cam-lock can be attached, then weld a flange on each end of the pipe so the sections can be bolted together. Most of the welding was done inside the load out building (on right). When it comes to welding stainless steel you get the best weld results in an controlled environment. By “controlled environment”  in Kansas I mean, the wind is not blowing on you! I do believe a 30 mph wind to Kansans is a slight breeze. Did you know “Kansans” have also been referred to as Jayhawkers, Grasshoppers or Sunflowers! A little trivia knowledge.


The pipes are held in place by U-Bolts attached to a stand on top of the concrete pillars. Now that the pipes are secured in place, all the additional parts need to be added. Butterfly valves, Cam-locks and Air vents are just some of the pieces.



In the picture below you see the opening to a main containment tunnel, a centrifugal pump and pump containment pad. Product will be pumped from the rail pipe, down into the tunnel and routed to locations throughout the facility. This tunnel is how we get product from one side of the facility to the other, while maintaining a high standard of containment. With this automated system we will be able to unload approximately 800 gallons per minute. That means in one day we can unload up to 384,000 gallons of product. Nice!


A couple more things to put in place and we will be ready to fire this up!


Let the “Building” begin!

In the last blog for Carrington North Dakota we left off with the tanks installed in the new containment area of the building. The crew had put water in the bottom of the tanks for weight to hold them down so the North Dakota winds would not blow the tanks over before the building could be built. I am happy to say that Mother Nature was kind to us, this time! The first step to a new building is to have the proper design and engineering to withstand wind, snow, rain and bitter cold of the North Dakota environment. Engineering plays an important role when you have large open expanses with no support. Snow pack can become very heavy. When the building crew arrives on site they start by sorting the delivered material to make sure all the pieces are on site. Next they get a couple I-beam/columns set upright and bolted to the foundation wall. Then they bolt the open expansion roof beams together, crane them up and bolt them to the upright columns. If you look real close in the second picture below you can see  guide wires installed to help hold the top of the upright column in place.



While the first few pieces were being put in place, workers on the ground were putting larger sections of the roof together. In the picture below you can see pieces of steel that span from one roof beam to the other, they are called purlins. The pieces that span between the wall upright columns are called girts. When you have a crew on the ground building sections and a crew up in the air things go together much faster.



Now it is time for the load out area! On the end of the beams there are plates with holes, they will be matched to the adjacent beams then bolted together. This is where a good crane operator is important.



Now the end wall, which will help support the end roof beam.


It’s starting to look like a building!



  Now that all the girts and purlins are installed, it’s on to the siding. The weather an be a big factor when it comes to the installation of siding. Wind can be a big problem. Some of the sheets are 40′ long and they make a great sail, if you hold on tight. They began siding the west side first, which was a nice wind break for the south side. November is when North Dakota gets a lot of wind out of the north west, when this happens cold weather is not far behind.




While the siding was being installed the overhead door installers were next on the list to get the building closed in.


The crew was finally able to install the roof panels after a couple days of high winds.


This is where we will leave it for now. The rest is trim work, finish grading and the new Agroliquid  building sign. Stay tuned!


Home stretch for concrete!

The building project is going well and we are in the home stretch with the concrete part of this project. In the last blog we left off with the load out wall installed and they were starting to back fill. Now the interior is filled and compacted, so it is time to install the vapor barrier and re-bar.


Along with installing the re-bar in this part of the building, there has to be electrical conduits installed. The conduits in the picture below will allow electrical and data lines to be installed from one side of the load out area to the other side by the containment area. Concrete in this area will be 8″ thick and one layer of re-bar installed with a cross pattern with 12″ x 12″ squares.

img_0527 The load out and tank containment areas have sloped floors so fluid will drain to stainless steel catch basins. This building will be self contained, if there was a product loss it will flow to our catch basins and be pumped into a tote container. In the second picture below you can see the catch basin in the center of the floor.



Lets move on to the tank install. The tanks were shipped on flatbed trailer to the site, then a crane was used to off load the tanks and put them in wood cradles . Below is the entrance to the Carrington North Dakota facility.


After all the concrete work for the containment area was complete, there is another step before the tanks could be installed into the containment. The step I am referring to is the second layer of containment that Agroliquid requires and has implemented into all containment projects. This second layer of containment is a spray on polyurea liner. Once the liner is installed and cured it’s time to install the tanks.


Tank installation can be a challenge in itself. This involves one crane to pick up the tank and set it on a trailer at the storage spot, then a truck hauls it to the spot where the second crane will be attached and then lift the tank to an upright position.  This is easier explained than done. Especially with the wind conditions in North Dakota. After the tank is in the upright position the crane swings it over into the containment area where spotters make sure the tank and the tank openings are in the correct position. Last but not least they have to put 4 to 6 thousand gallons of water in the tank for weight so the wind can not blow it over. There is a lot of teamwork that takes place.



We even enlisted help from our Williams Iowa facility. I know what you are thinking and yes, you are right, that is our Site Manager from Iowa Jeff Luiken (left), all dressed up like it is cold out. It was about 32 degrees in the morning. Frost on the pumpkin comes earlier in North Dakota than it does in Michigan. A big “Thank you” to Jeff Luiken, Dusty Schutt and Danny Leerar for traveling and giving their support to the tank setting project.



A job well done! Next up, getting the building built over the tanks!

Building momentum!

 It is amazing to see how things have changed in just a few weeks on the Carrington site. In the last blog the concrete crew was working on the containment area walls and now the concrete is well on it’s way to being done. So let me catch you up to where we are now. The next thing to install was the floor of the containment area. This started by back filling against the walls on the inside to bring the engineered fill up to grade. Next the area is covered by a vapor barrier to keep moisture in the ground.

img_0430After the vapor barrier is laid out and cut to size the re-bar has to be installed. Putting the re-bar in place is a process that takes some time to accomplish. The concrete in this tank area will be 2 foot thick. In the picture below you can see red bricks on the vapor barrier. These bricks are for spacing the re-bar up off the vapor barrier so the concrete can flow under the re-bar encapsulating it into the concrete.

img_0429 This containment area has a double mat, which means they start out with the bottom layer in the picture above, then bend spacers out of re-bar to support the top layer. The re-bar has a 6″x 6″ cross pattern. Now that is a lot of re-bar! On the area to the left there will be six tanks installed and just one of those tanks will weight 648,000 pounds when filled with product.


In the picture below along the wall you can see a silver A shaped unit. This is a truss screed. Trusses come in sections, ranging from about 2 to 10 feet long, which interlock to span the required distance up to a maximum of about 60 to 75 feet, depending on the particular machine. The truss sections can be set at an angle to produce crowned or invert profiles. In the middle is a motor and when running it will vibrate the truss thus knocking down the stone in the concrete and leaving a smooth surface. Out on the ends of the truss there are small electric motors with cables that are attached to the opposite wall and when turned on the cables pull the screed.


After all the concrete is poured the crew will wait for the concrete to harden a bit then get on it with a power trowel. Below you can see this company has walk behind power trowels (next to wall) and ride on power trowels. There are also trowels you use by hand but with a project of this size you bring out the big equipment.



Now that the tank containment area in complete it is time to start the load out portion of the building. The same process (in previous blog) is repeated with the walls so, here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure!






This is where we leave off for right now but don’t worry there is more to go! Next up load out floor and tank install!


Carrington project keeps moving forward!

The building project at the Carrington site is actually taking shape. After the tunnel was done the concrete company moved onto the walls of the containment area. In the picture below you can see the forms for the footings. The footings are the base for the wall to sit on. They are one foot thick and reinforced with re-bar.


The crew had set all the forms so they would be able to pour concrete the next day and it rained again! Rain has been an ongoing issue with this project. Jared Volk our Site Supervisor in Carrington has lived in North Dakota for quite some time and he keeps telling me “this year is not normal”.



I am making a big leap here but as you can see in the picture below the footing forms did get concrete put in them. Also in this picture you can see the form panels are installed for the inside of the containment wall.



Next is the installation of the reinforcing re-bar for the interior of the walls. When the re-bar is installed in the footing the installers will leave a 1 to 2 foot piece sticking straight up out of the footing so they can attach the wall re-bar to it. The strips of metal sticking out from the wall panels are called breakback wall ties. After the outside panels are installed these strips of metal help keep the two panels from separating.



Now it is time for concrete!


The gentleman in the center of the picture is installing the concrete in the wall from the boom truck and  the other two are vibrating the concrete in the wall. Vibrations cause the mixture to liquefy, reducing the internal friction of the mix components of cement, aggregate, and water. Thus allowing the mix to move around more easily in whatever form you are placing the concrete. This helps to ensure that enough concrete gets into every little nook and cranny and eliminate voids. Furthermore, the vibrations and liquification help to allow air bubbles to escape. There’s a lot of air in the mix when installed, and too much air in the mix allows for a less dense mixture and therefore can lead to failures and blemishes. The vibrations help to bring those air bubbles to the surface where they escape.


After the concrete has time to set the panels can be removed. As you can see the breakback wall ties are sticking out of the wall. You can strike them in a downward motion and they will break off back in the wall so nothing is sticking out.


Next up is the containment floor!

Concrete on the ground in Carrington!

We have officially started the beginning of concrete for the new steel building on the Carrington site. By the end of the project they will have poured 850 yards of concrete. At the end of the last blog we had the containment area dug out and the engineered fill in place and compacted. Since then they have had rain storm after rain storm go through the area. So instead of a containment area for a building, it ended up a nice pond. This was quite a storm that went through about 4 am and not only did it leave all this rain behind, but the wind tipped over the portable restroom and blew it 20 yards from where it was staked in the ground. Get out the fishing pole!


After the water was pumped out and the ground dried enough to get back into the area, the tunnel trench had to be excavated. The tunnel will run from one side of the building to the other and then past the exterior wall for future expansion. This will allow product hose to be installed under the floor and  come out of the tunnel through an opening in the load out area. There will also be hose that go to the rail spur for the loading and unloading of rail cars. After the tunnel area was excavated to the proper depth a base of stone and sand had to be put back in to stabilize the concrete floor.



Now the forms have to be installed for the tunnel floor.



After the forms were installed, below is what the concrete crew arrived to the next morning. It’s time to get the pumps out again!

Wet tunnel area 7-27-2016Thank goodness! After that rain storm the project has been going along pretty well. The tunnel floor was poured and things are looking less saturated. As you can see in the picture below the reinforcing bars were installed and if you look close there is a white strip between the re-bar, it is called water stop. This water stop is made of Polyvinyl Chloride and is 6″ tall by 3/8″ thick. When installed in the concrete 3 inches are inserted in one slab and 3 inches sticks out for the next slab and it keeps water from seeping through the cracks. Thus the name “water stop”.


Now they snap chalk lines on the concrete to make sure the inside and outside panel for the tunnel walls are installed leaving the correct space.


Next up is the tunnel walls! In the picture below the crew have set the panels for the interior of the wall and have tied some more re-bar in place to help support the concrete. The taller section of panels will be the opening on the exterior of the building for future expansion. This opening will have a cover installed over it. Another thing I would like to mention about the picture below is the liner that was installed below the tunnel floor. This liner is just another layer of protection for the soils under the building. Agroliquid is always going above and beyond for the protection of the environment.


The exterior wall panels are set and now it is time for the concrete! The concrete is delivered through the use of a pump boom truck. A pump boom truck makes the installation of the concrete more accurate and it can reach places a cement truck is not able to go.



After the concrete has had time to cure the panels are removed.


There is a lot more of the project to go! A big “Thank you” goes out to our site manager Jared Volk for the pictures!



A recent trip to the Carrington site!

The new building project at the Carrington site is moving forward. As with any project you can expect changes as plans develop. One change to the project was the way the trucks enter the turn into the new building. When dealing with tractor trailer units you must have enough room for them to enter into the turn comfortably and get everything straight before entering the building. This change put the office trailer right in the way. So it must be moved! Just to refresh your memory the picture below is what the facility looked like when it was first setup. The original plans for this facility called for an open tank containment area with a truck load pad. This new steel building will be 11,00 square feet with a load out area and storage tanks inside the building. The new building will be located next to the 500,00 gallon tank.

Site Enterance

To accomplish the task of moving the office trailer Jared Volk (Site Supervisor) and I were the crew for the job. First we had to remove all the skirting around the trailer bottom, which had to be put somewhere inside so the wind doesn’t blow it away before you can reinstall it. In Carrington a slight breeze is 20 mph.


Then you have to bolt the trailer hitch back onto the frame and remove the jack stands that help stabilize it when in place. Also there are brackets with 2 ft. stakes pound into the ground and tension straps attached to the frame. So the trailer doesn’t blow away. Other items under the trailer are two 300 gallon insulated holding tanks, one for water and for sewage. The plumbing for the tanks and the tanks have to be removed as well. Now it is time to hook it up to the Ford Truck! It was quite a load but the Ford accomplished the task at hand!

Now all we need to do is get the trailer into it’s new spot. As you can see the new spot is by the 500,00 gallon tank. In this spot the office trailer should be out of the way for future projects as well. Excellent driving Jared!


The process repeats itself only in reverse. We have to install the insulated tanks, plumbing, jack stands, tie down straps and skirting. As you can see in the picture below the trailer is in its new home. Thank you Jared for all your help!



While I was on site the building project was getting under way. The excavation company was on site and they were digging the lower containment area of the building.



The excavators remove the soils from the area that are not suitable for compaction and replace it with engineered gravel. After the gravel is in place, they wet the gravel and run a compactor over the area to get 95% or more of compaction. A testing company will come to the site and do several compaction tests to make sure the area is up to specification.


Thing are taking shape and there is more to come!


Stockton gets a major tank expansion!

Right now we have a lot of projects taking place at our Stockton Facility. We are in the process of making this facility a full product line manufacturing plant, we installed a new packaging system for 2.5 gallon  containers of product, a new 500,000 gallon storage tank and new logo signs.  Let’s start with the new 500,ooo gallon tank. This tank did have some challenges. For one thing this tank is in California, so there are some extra T’s to cross to accomplish this task! Also you never know if the whole state is going to break off and float away to China! Just kidding! I guess that is my way of saying we have to take seismic activity into consideration. All the other large tanks AgroLiquid has built have been on engineered fill only. This tank had to be on a concrete base. First, the correct engineered fill has to be below the concrete base, which means drilling and soil testing. Hopefully you have good soils, if you do not then excavation has to take place and the correct soils need to be compacted to support the weight of the tank. Below the forms have been set in place for the base. The concrete tank base is 80 feet across and 30″ deep.


The next step is to install the re-bar. There will be 2 layers of re-bar. As you can see it is installed in two different directions and then tied in place every 6 inches.


In this picture the wires that are sticking up are for the next layer of re-bar. They will keep the 2 layers separate.


Now the second layer has to be installed just like the first layer and as you can imagine, this is a time consuming process.


With any construction outside the weather is a big factor. As we all know California has been going through quite a dry spell but this year they have been blessed with rain. You can see the ground is wet but the sky looks like it is time to lay concrete. In the picture you see a boom that is attached to the center of the area and goes to the outside form wall. As the concrete is laid they move this boom over the top to smooth it out. The center of the area is 4 inches higher than the outside, this design will allow the tank to stay in place while everything else is shaking! Let’s hope we never go through that test!


tank base 2

Its time for the tank building to start! The floor of the tank is in place and the crew is installing the first ring outside wall. AgroLiquid uses double wall steel tanks. That means there is an outer tank and an inner tank. The inner tank will hold the product and if it fails, the outside tank will contain the product from getting out into the environment. This tank is shorter than our typical 500,000 gallon tanks. In California the tanks have to be shorter and wider so they cover more area for stability during a earthquake.


Things are moving along well!



Below is a look from inside the tank.  A little extra information about this tank and base. The tank weights 110,192 pounds empty, 6,186,505 pounds full and the concrete base has 465 yards of concrete in it. On a smaller scale that is 20,944 – 80 pound bags of cement.



Looks like things are taking shape in sunny California. Let’s fill it up!

Finishing the new addition in Williams Iowa.

Working in the facilities department there is always something going on. Whether it is at one of the many facilities across this great country of ours or right here at home in Michigan. Sometimes you get working on a project that require a little more time spent out in the field than others. No recent post for this guy! But now it is time to catch up with the Williams facility and finish blogging about the new addition. The last blog was about getting the building closed in because winter was coming to the state of Iowa. The building did get buttoned up and now it is time for the work inside.

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The picture below is the start of the tunnel system under the concrete floor. This is how we get product hose from one place to another. In the second picture below you can see the gray pipes sticking up out of the ground. They are electrical conduits installed previous to the tunnel work this will ensure we can get wires to other spots in the plant from the main distribution panel.

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Next the tunnel floors are poured and left to cure. The re-bar sticking up from the tunnel floor will allow the walls of the tunnel to be attached. In this picture you can also see a larger gray pipe. This pipe is part of a drain system in case there is a spill inside the tunnel, the fluid will be able to drain to a catch basin.

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This is 1 of 2 tunnel floor covered with blankets to keep the heat in the concrete.

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The 2 pictures below are 1 of 2 catch basins in the system. There is a crock in the center where we will put a sump pump in and retain any fluid in the system.

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Now the tunnel walls are poured and when finished they will be at floor level. They can not bring the cement truck into the area because it may crush the piping under ground, so the concrete is put into a skid loader bucket and then poured in the wall forms.

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This was the only source of heat in this part of the building and it was keeping the temperature just above 40 degrees. I am sure inside the building was definitely warmer than the outside! When pouring concrete in the winter, even with all the additives to speed up the setting process it is important to keep it as warm as possible. The first 24 hours is the most critical time because you do not want the water in the concrete to freeze. If this happens it will greatly decrease the strength of the concrete. Sometimes you have to put a blanket over it to keep the heat in (shown in previous picture).

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While the tunnel walls where curing another crew came and installed the 3 insulated garage doors.

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Now the building is all closed in from the outside environment it is time to get the floor areas ready for concrete. First forms are installed, then a sand gravel mix is added to bring the ground up to the correct height and then it is compacted. Next a vaporproof/waterproof  barrier is installed to prevent any moisture beneath the concrete. The last step before the concrete is poured is installing the reinforcing mesh. This particular area is where the incoming trucks will unload products so the concrete will only be 8 inches thick.

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Other areas in this part of the building, the concrete has to be much thicker. There will be 30,000 gallon tanks inside the building where materials will be stored for use at a later time. The concrete will be 12 inches thick with more reinforcement.

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15240DailyLog2016-02-16 Agro-cultureLiquid-2The tunnels also have to be capped off. First a corrugated galvanized steel is installed then reinforced with re-bar over top and finally the concrete is poured to make a very nice looking floor inside the building.

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Last but not least the openings for the hose tunnels and fluid recovery system are filled in with a fiberglass reinforced grate for access.

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What a nice addition to the Williams Facility!

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