Bomb Squad blows up discarded propane tanks

SWEETWATER COUNTY, WYO – Campers and backyard barbequers discarded hundreds of propane bottles in the Green River Landfill and that presented a bit of a problem. Until the Sweetwater Bomb Squad made the problem go away. Kaboom!

Sheriff Mike Lowell said the landfill had accumulated nearly 200 steel propane bottles of various sizes. “People have been bringing these old bottles to the landfill over time, and they presented a disposal problem,” he explained.  “It’s a safety issue.  Scrap dealers won’t accept intact propane bottles; they must be ‘holed’ to demonstrate that they’re empty and not under pressure. That’s where the Bomb Squad comes in. They ‘hole’ the old tanks with explosive charges.”

Enter Bomb Squad members Doug Lauze of the Green River Police Department, Tony Niemiec of the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office, and Rock Springs Police Officer Steve VanValkenburg. The trio used RDX charges and det cord to blast holes into the propane bottles, turning them into simple scrap metal.

Lowell said the charges the squad used represented no cost to county or city. The explosives were surplus turned in to the unit by oilfield companies.

This bottle was full or nearly so, but had a broken valve. The charges are rigged and ready.
The bottle depicted in previous photo after detonation. Note the large hole created by the charge, making the bottle safe to handle as scrap; note also how the force of the exploding propane drove the bottle into the ground. Officials recommend that great caution be exercised whenever handling propane bottles.

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