Affordable Fuels News

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Affordable Fuels Expands into Teller & Park Counties


Affordable Fuels

by Flip Boettcher - Ute Country News - January 2016 

In his continuing efforts to bring more affordable and available propane to the Guffey area, local resident Bill Betz has teamed up with Affordable Fuels from Elizabeth, Colorado, to install a large, underground propane tank on his property on the top of Gold Hill, just north of Guffey.

As part of the long, four to six month county process to get Park County commissioners’ approval, Betz needed to get the support of the community and of the Guffey-based Southern Park County Fire Protection District.

The fire department board of directors had a special meeting to address concerns and questions about the propane tank. It was a time for Fire Chief, Aaron Mandel and the community to ask questions and have their concerns addressed as well.

Also at the meeting were Gary Guagenti, co-founder, president and CEO of Affordable Fuels, and Glen Slanaker, owner and installer of Loveland Meter Service, who will be installing the propane tank. Unfortunately, James Richardson, the other co-founder, Vice President and driver for Affordable Fuels, was out sick.

The proposed site is just off of CR 102. The 18,000 gallon tank will be underground, not visible from the road. After some road work, there will be adequate access for the 3,400 gallon service trucks, the 8,500 gallon delivery trucks, and all fi re trucks according to Slanaker. There will only be filling of the large, underground tank and service trucks at the site. There will be no filling of personal tanks at the site.

Fire board chairman, Ken Thomas asked the obvious question, ‘is what you are planning to do safe?’ The short answer is ‘yes’.

According to Slanaker, there are a lot of backups and safety features with propane, a fl ammable gas. There is also a lot of insurance and training for anyone who handles propane. There are double locking hose connections, interior tank locking valves that open only with nitrogen gas, as well as many more safety features. All drivers need a Commercial Driver License and HAZMAT classes. Anyone who handles propane has to have passed a special safety class called CTAP, said Slanaker. The trucks are all inspected yearly.

Although it is an 18,000 gallon tank, it is only ever fi lled to 85 percent, like a household tank, said Slanaker. Being underground really eliminates any possibility of a tank rupture. In the highly unlikely event that would happen, the propane would sink, because it is heavy and there is no air; it cannot ignite. There is only one manhole cover on the top of the propane tank where all the hoses pass through.

The top of the tank, approximately 10 feet wide by 40 feet long, will be 18 inches underground and the tank covered in epoxy, fi lled all around with 10 to 12 inches of pea gravel and then dirt, explained Slanaker. According to an email from Betz, a propane tank of this kind is expected to be operational for at least 50 years. Guagenti said that he started Affordable Fuels with his partner James Richardson one and a half years ago. They wanted a small, low cost propane company that would be a win-win for customers and company alike, stated Guagenti.

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