Environmental Remediation Program fact sheet
Division of Environmental Quality Director: Kyra Moore

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources urges citizens in flood-prone areas to secure propane tanks properly and mark the tanks to help identify them and avoid safety problems in the event of local flooding.

Unsecured propane tanks can float and can be carried away by floodwaters. Floodwaters can be much more powerful than the strength of connecting pipe or tubing, and may cause a propane tank to float off its foundation if it is not secured.

If a business or citizen is in an area that may be affected by flooding and has a propane tank, the following actions are recommended.

Before the storm or flood:

  • Secure your propane tank to a strongly secured stationary object, such as a tree. Secure the tank by running a chain or cable through the legs or lifting lugs of the tank. Cable or chain instead of rope is recommended.
  • If you own the tank, mark the tank with your name, address and phone number in case the tank is carried away. Contact your propane provider if you are not certain if you are the owner of the tank.
  • Take a picture of your propane tank manufacturer's nameplate. It might be good to have a picture in case your tank is recovered after floating away.

If you have to evacuate to higher ground:

  • Close the service valve on the propane portable cylinder or permanent tank by turning the handwheel clockwise. If flooding causes a propane tank to break away from its location, any gas in the container will be lost if the service valve remains open.
  • Turn off the service valve and the shutoff valve on all propane appliances. Be sure to check first with your propane supplier if you don't know where the shutoff valves are located.

After the storm or flood:

  • Your tank's service valve should be left off until the system and appliances have been checked by a qualified service person. Do not attempt to restore service yourself—contact your propane provider to arrange for service to be restored, pilot lights lit and so on. Missouri state regulations require a safety inspection for any propane systems that have experienced an interruption of service. Only your propane provider is qualified to do this.
  • Your propane supplier should inspect propane-powered household appliances, farm equipment or vehicles with controls or regulators that have been underwater before being put back into service.
  • If your propane tank has moved, do not attempt to move it. This is a job for propane service professionals.
  • If abandoned propane tanks are discovered once floodwaters have receded, contact the department's Environmental Emergency Response section at 573-634-2436.
  • If you smell propane gas, leave the area immediately and contact your fire department to inform them of the situation.

Nothing in this document may be used to implement any enforcement action or levy any penalty unless promulgated by rule under chapter 536 or authorized by statute.

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