Allentown propane company may move to Phillipsburg

By - Last modified: January 27, 2014 at 9:10 AM

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Anthem Propane Exchange has outgrown its east Allentown location and is looking at a possible move to a two-acre plot of the former Ingersoll Rand site in Phillipsburg, N.J., land that the town acquired in 2012.

Because of the potential safety hazards involved in transferring the company's propane gas from Allentown to Phillipsburg, Anthem Propane Exchange presented its safety plan to the Phillipsburg town council. The company's principals assured council members that Anthem Propane follows strict safety standards provided through the National Fire Protection Association and considers propane to be an environmentally friendly fuel.

"We are very safety conscious and care about the environment," Eric Falberg, vice president of Anthem Propane, said. "Propane is a very safe industry."

Allentown employees of the company likely would transfer to the new location, he said.

Falberg said the company is looking to expand at the new location and would hire 30-35 more people the first two years after its move.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, propane is nontoxic, noncaustic and will not create an environmental hazard if released as a liquid or vapor into water or soil. The only damage and potential danger exists if the vapor is ignited following a spill. In this instance, there are no long-term effects of ignited propane that can be damaging to the environment.

"The area where they are looking doesn't have houses within 200 feet of the site," said Victoria Kleiner, acting municipal clerk for Phillipsburg. "This type of gas evaporates into the air if there is a leak or a spill, so it is not as much of a safety concern as other gases."

In addition to the Allentown location, the company, headquartered in Illinois, has locations in York and in Waterbury, Conn. The company serves thousands of customers in the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast regions of the nation. Its primary function is to provide propane for forklifts, making the Phillipsburg site ideal, since it is close to suppliers and a safe distance from residents.

The potential Phillipsburg site would include a 30,000-gallon propane tank and three areas for trucks to refuel, along with a storage section for loaded trucks. Also at the location, the company plans to expand its services to include the distribution of oxygen, nitrogen and argon, as long as code guidelines are followed.

"We have no choice but to move to keep up with our growth and demand," Falberg said. "The Phillipsburg location is ideal and is most likely going to be the spot."

Falberg said the company will make its final decision in the next few weeks and would like to be up and running by the middle of spring.

Jennifer Glose

Jennifer Glose

Reporter Jennifer Glose covers health care, Berks County and other topics. She can be reached at jenniferg@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 111. Follow her on Twitter @jenniferg_LVB and read her blog, “Networking,” at http://www.lvb.com/section/networking-blog.

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