Legacy custom-designed fertilizer storage facility capitalizes on flexibility

The IEI Barge Services’ potash port terminal in Illinois.

The IEI Barge Services’ potash port terminal in Illinois.

When IEI Barge Services needed to expand the bulk storage capacity of its East Dubuque, Illinois facility in a location with challenging soil conditions, and where traditional building materials were expensive and impractical, they turned to Legacy Building Solutions for a lightweight fabric structure that would keep potash and other materials undercover, while not degrading in the presence of corrosive materials or harsh weather.

Every Legacy project starts with listening and designing to the needs of the specific project. IEI barge needed to store 15,000 tons of potash, plus DAP, urea, MAP and ESN, for a total capacity of 27,000 tons. They also required separated bins for each pile of product with retrieval access via river, truck, and railcar.

Legacy created computer-generated models of the six storage piles and the steel frame, foundation and interior transloading equipment. In addition to storage bins, the building was custom designed with an offset peak, conveyor, and three operations lean-tos to optimize loading functions and storage space.

The main cavity of the building measures 77-feet-by-580-feet, with the lean-tos measuring 40-feet-by-340-feet, 25-feet-by-130-feet and 25-feet-by-60-feet. The unique shape and features of the building simplify the process of storing and distributing potash. Each lean-to has overhead doors to create a straight drive path for trucks and allow heavy equipment and loaders to maneuver inside the building.

The cast-in-place concrete foundation was specially designed to minimize pressure on the soil. Concrete was also used along the sidewalls to increase the load-bearing capacity and create separate storage bins with lift gates.

Legacy Building Solutions was able to offer IEI Barge a lightweight fabric structure that would keep potash and other materials undercover, while not degrading in the presence of corrosive materials or harsh weather.

Legacy Building Solutions was able to offer IEI Barge a lightweight fabric structure that would keep potash and other materials undercover, while not degrading in the presence of corrosive materials or harsh weather.

The polyethylene fabric of the Legacy structure is ideal for the highly caustic fertilizer environment. It will not corrode, has a flame-retardant coating, and allows natural light inside the building. Because of the corrosive nature of the environment, the steel building frame members were made of hot dip galvanized steel to resist rusting and pitting.

The offset peak design placed the conveyor in an ideal location to reach all six bays, allowing the overhead crane to receive product via barge for maximum cost savings, or to use a rail-unloading method to restock more quickly. IEI Barge turns product three-and-a-half times per year, and having the capacity to load via multiple methods allows their customers to quickly adapt to changing markets.

The passive ventilation system – consisting of 18-inch eave extensions for intake, and 30 peak roof vents for exhaust – further reduced the amount of electricity needed to run the building. The eave extensions also have icebreakers, gutters, and downspouts for moisture control. The ventilation system, along with the non-conductive nature of the fabric, maintains a temperate environment inside the structure, which feels up to 20-degrees cooler on hot days.

After the design phase was complete, Legacy dispatched experienced crews to install the building according to precise specifications and strict safety protocol. Working with Legacy allowed IEI Barge Services to construct a building customized to receive, store, and distribute fertilizer efficiently, while keeping within their budget and unique environmental needs.

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