Addressing the Facts – and Myths – of the Rancho LPG Terminal

Rancho is committed to maintaining safe operations. We meet with elected officials, regulatory agencies, and neighborhood and community leaders to share information about the facility and help provide accurate information on our operations.

The following questions and answers reflect common inquiries we receive, as well as clarification of information that have at times been misinterpreted or inaccurately presented by third parties.


What is stored at the facility?

The facility stores butane and small amounts of propane, which are liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) products commonly used in homes, restaurants and vehicles.

How big are the tanks at the facility?

The facility includes two above-ground 12.5 million-gallon refrigerated tanks, as well as five above-ground 60,000-gallon horizontal storage tanks.

When were the cold tanks built?

The refrigerated tanks were constructed in 1973 and 1974. The tanks were constructed to meet all applicable engineering standards and building codes.

Is the design of the tanks outdated?

No. The technology utilized to build storage tanks today has changed very little from when the Rancho tanks were constructed. A leading refrigerated tank manufacturer constructed the double-walled cold tanks on-site, and that manufacturer is still in business today. Since our purchase of the facility, we’ve maintained robust mechanical integrity programs to ensure high safety standards are upheld.

Is the facility safe?

Yes. The facility has not had a significant release or event in its 47-year history. As a responsible operator, we perform regular and planned maintenance to help ensure components remain in compliance with applicable regulations and company standards. We have completed a number of safety upgrades since the purchase of the facility in 2008 to maintain and improve upon our high standard for operational safety, security, reliability and efficiency.

Is the facility in compliance with the 2020 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommendations?

Yes. The facility is regulated under the NFPA 58 13.1 – 13.8 Refrigerated Containers and is in compliance with the regulations and applicable setback requirements.

Since the cold tanks aren’t pressurized, how does the gas stay in liquid form?

The nature of LPG is such that when it’s cooled, it enters a liquid state. Vapors at less than one pound per square inch gauge (psig) are drawn from a top vapor line on the low-pressure cold tanks and travel to multi-stage compressors. After passing through the compressors, the vapors are cooled, causing them to return to a liquid phase, then directed back to the cold tanks. This process is repeated in a continuous cycle.

How many workers are employed at Rancho?

The facility is staffed 24/7 by experienced employees who are members of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 26. For safety and security reasons, we cannot share the number of employees.

Is Rancho LPG located in a tsunami inundation zone?

No. The facility is located outside any tsunami hazard zone, and this information can be confirmed on the California Department of Conservation (DOC) public website.

Is Rancho LPG located on a fault line or on land subject to liquefaction?

No. The facility is situated outside an earthquake fault zone and the Alquist-Priolo fault zone. This can be confirmed on the California Department of Conservation (DOC) website under California Geological Survey (CGS). The facility is designed with appropriate seismic consideration and complies with all regulatory requirements regarding seismic-related issues. Third-party geotechnical testing and review has confirmed the site is not liquefiable. In addition, as part of the regulations, the facility is required to submit reports for the California Accidental Release Prevention (CalARP) program. In 2019, third-party findings declared, based on the results of the regulation criteria, the two tanks will not fail when subjected to the CalARP-specified seismic hazard.

What is the potential impact zone of an incident at Rancho?

Our Risk Management Plan (RMP), which has been validated by the EPA and is available for public review at the LAFD/CUPA office, indicates the facility’s impact zone.

Is Rancho considered “ultrahazardous”? Are the products explosive?

No. The facility has never been declared “ultrahazardous” by any regulatory agency and confirmed by the LA City Attorney’s Office and California State Attorney General. The products stored at the Rancho facility are not classified as explosives under the Environmental Protection Agency regulation 40CFR68.

Who oversees the Rancho facility?

The Rancho facility is regulated by at least nine local, state and federal agencies, including: California Environmental Protection Agency, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Department of Homeland Security, California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA), Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, California Water Quality Control Board, Los Angeles Fire Department, Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation Department of Public Works, and Los Angeles County Certified Unified Program Agency.

How do these agencies oversee the facility?

Regular audits of the facility are conducted, including unannounced multi-agency audits. These audits have confirmed that Rancho consistently complies with the applicable regulations.

Does Rancho have a risk management plan or risk analysis?

Yes. The facility has a Risk Management Plan on file with the Environmental Protection Agency, as part of its regular operating requirements. Community members can request to view this public document through the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Will Rancho support further risk assessments?

We have and will continue to cooperate with the agencies that regulate our facilities and adhere to regulatory requirements.

What is Rancho’s emergency preparedness plan?

The facility and the employees take safety and emergency preparedness very seriously. We continue to meet all applicable state and federal regulations pertaining to emergency response plans and training required for an LPG facility. Rancho’s emergency preparedness involves ensuring our employees understand the facility’s emergency response plan, review it regularly and are able to implement it during an incident. In addition, we continue to collaborate with local responders to ensure preparedness and coordination among the various organizations. As a method of compliance with the federal Process Safety Management requirement for emergency planning, Rancho LPG may also conduct emergency preparedness exercises from time to time. When an exercise is scheduled, we notify and invite the local emergency response stakeholders to participate.