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American Shipper

Landmark Los Angeles port storage domes to come down

Landmark Los Angeles port storage domes to come down

   Two massive storage domes at the Port of Los Angeles, each large enough to cover a football field, are headed for the scrap pile.

   The port's harbor commissioners Thursday approved the demolishment of the 12-story concrete domes that once covered piles of petroleum coke, a refinery byproduct that the government has labeled as a cancer causing material.

   Erected in 1999 to minimize coke dust emission, the domes were part of the 120-acre LAXT coke and coal facility that has since stopped operating, following a lengthy legal dispute with the city.

   The outer skins of the domes were originally inflated like balloons, then reinforced on the inside with steel bars and sprayed concrete.

   Despite being white when they were erected, an unaccounted for phenomena resulted in the coke dust turning the domes almost black. The plastic material on the outside would develop a static charge, attracting the fine dust particles. The sun would heat the plastic and make it soft enough for the dust to stick to the surface, where it bonded like paint. After numerous efforts to remove the dust from the surface of the two structures proved fruitless, further cleaning efforts were abandoned. The slowly darkening domes became a symbol to air quality activists who railed against port pollution.

   The project to remove the domes, and another shed on the property, will cost the port about $12 million.

   Once cleared, the land is set to be developed as a liquid bulk facility.

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