Monday, October 26, 2020

Yara Sets Midway Construction Schedule

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

The third company set to occupy a multi-acre property in Greene County is seeking extensions on permits to build and operate a major manufacuring facility from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
Henri Groenen, vice president, of Yara North America, Inc. submitted requests for construction and operating permits from TDEC.
Yara plans to produce tons of calcium niterate on the same site as US Nitrogen LLC and Praxair,Inc.
In a letter to TDEC's Michelle Owenby, Groenen said the company has completed 98 per cent of the design/engineering phase and expects to begin actual construction next March. Construction is expected to be completed in 12 to 14 months.
Yara's current construction permits expire Nov. 3.
Groenen also said that Yara is currently soliciting bids for various phases of the project.
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Saturday, October 24, 2020

Hearing Set on Conigliaro Appeal

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

A three judge federal panel will hear arguments Tuesday on an appeal filed by federal prosecutors seeking to overturn a judge's dismissal order on a charge against a former drug company executive.
Federal prosecutors in Boston are arguing that the guilty charge on a conspiracy count against Gregory Conigliaro should be restored. A jury had returned a unanimous guilty verdict but U.S. District Judge Richard G. Stearns reversed the conviction on June 7 of last year.
The First Circuit Court of Appeals also will hear arguments from the attorney for Sharon Carter, who like Conigliaro worked at the New England Compounding Center, the company blamed for the deadly 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak. She held the title of director of operations.
Conigliaro was a vice president and part owner of NECC while Carter was employed as a pharmacist technician.
Due to the pandemic the court session set to begin at 9:30 a.m. will be held virtually since the courthouse is not open to the public.
Hearing the appeal will be Judges Sandra Lynch, Kermit Lipez and David J. Barron.
Conigliaro's lawyer, Daniel Rabinowitz, has argued that Conigliaro couldn't have conspired to defraud the U.S. Food and Drug Administration because agency officials were not even sure they had jurisdiction over NECC.
Carter's lawyer, Michael Pineault has made a similar argument.
Federal prosecutors have argued that the jury verdict should be upheld and that Conigliaro and Carter were motivated by greed.br /> Of the 14 NECC defendants indicted in late 2014, three are currently serving federal prison terms. One was acquitted of all charges.
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Thursday, October 22, 2020

St. Luke's Cited in Monitoring Failure

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

A patient at an Allentown hospital was found unresponsive in an apparent failure of a continuous monitor, according to a report from the state Health Department.
According to the report staffers at St. Luke's Sacred Heart Campus failed to inform the patient's physician that the patient was removing the continuous pulse oximetry monitor. Subsequently the patient was found on April 11 unresponsive "with no pulse or respiration."
The hospital employee "did not document a change in the patient's condition that affected the ordered the continuous pulse oximetry," the report states, adding that the patient's doctor was "not notified of a change in the patient's non-compliance and treatment."
The staff "lacked the ability to troubleshoot the continuous pulse oximetry issues such as maintaining the probe when the patient in disoriented and attempting to remove the device."
The hospital filed a plan of correction calling for staff education on reporting requirements.
The staff "lacked the ability to troubleshoot the continuous pulse oximetry issues such as maintaining the probe when the patient in disoriented and attempting to remove the device," the plan of correction states.
The report concluded that nursing staff never informed the physician that the patient was frequently removing the pulse oximetry probe.
St. Luke's officials did not respond to questions regarding the report.
Contact: wfrochejr999@gmail.com

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

US Nitrogen Passes TDEC Compliance Inspection

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

US Nitrogen was found in compliance with its state permits during a recent annual inspection but the company conceded that there had been errors in their calculations on nitrous oxide emissions.
The August inspection by officials of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation included a detailed review of company records and an actual inspection of some of the company's Greene County manufacturing facilities.
According to the inspection report a US Nitrogen official, Kim Ryans, acknowledged the company had made errors in computing the three hour rolling nitrous oxide emissions.
"Ms. Ryans agreed with the inspector that there had been an error in how they had adjustd this data to account for start-ups," the report states.
The company submitted corrected data on Aug. 27, according to the report.
TDEC reported that "due to the pandemic records were reviewed on Aug. 6 via Microsoft Teams.
Going through the various conditions in the company permits, the inspectors reported that they found no violations and that the company had properly compiled and retained various reports.
The report state that seven complaints against US Nitrogen were logged during the past year and all of them involved "visible emissions" or opacity. The report states that none of those complaints resulted in a finding that the company violated its permits.
In addition the inspectors reported that they observed no visible emissions other than water vapor.
"Records are maintained as required," the report states.
"The company appeared to be adhering to this condition during the plant walk-through and records were available back to the source's stafrt up," the report states referring to another permit requirement.
However, the report does state that some of the data collected during the inspection is still being evaluated by TDEC.
In a related development TDEC approved amendments to the permit granted to Praxair, Inc., a company that shares the same Midway location. The company produces liquid carbon dioxide for the beverage industry.
The amendments correct typographical errors in the permit issued in January. Contact: wfrochejr999@gmail.com

Monday, October 12, 2020

Nov. 19 Hearing on US Nitrogen Permit

Tennessee environmental officials have set a Nov. 19 date for an on-line hearing on the proposed renewal of a permit which allows a Greene County firm, US Nitrogen, to pump millions of gallons of wastewater into the Nolichucky River.
In a notice issued last week the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation announced that the 7 p.m. hearing will be preceeded by a one hour question and answer session.
The current permit expires on Oct. 31.
The ammonium nitrate manufacturer already has received approval for the renewal of another permit under which it draws millions of gallons of water from the river.
The hearing can be accessed at: https://tngov.webex.com/tngov/j.php?MTID=m5c4ac6ff30915eccfa45afe7b7f3eb33. The hearing can be accessed at: https://tngov.webex.com/tngov/j.php?MTID=m5c4ac6ff30915eccfa45afe7b7f3eb33.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

TN to Renew US Nitrogen River Permit

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

Tennessee environmental officials plan to renew a permit that allows a Greene County chemical firm to discharge millions of gallons of wastewater into the Nolichucky River.
In a notice issued today the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation provided a draft copy of the massive permit it intends to issue to US Nitrogen LLC.
The 52-page document includes the 23 page permit and several appendices. The permit won't expire until 2025. The current permit expires on Oct. 31.
"The department has determinewd that the activity will not cause degradation above a de minimus level," the permit states.
According to a cover letter sent to US Nitrogen Plant Manager Dylan Charles, members of the public will have 30 days to ask for a public hearing. The company will also have 30 days to object to any of the limits set out in the permit.
The permit is one of two key state permits that enable the company to utilize more than a million gallons per day from the Nolichucky in the production of ammonium nitrate and related chemicals. The permit to draw water from the Nolichucky was renwed last year.
The permit requires US Nitrogen to monitor the composition of the waste water being pumped into the river. Monthly reports must be filed with the state and the company is required to notify TDEC if monitoring shows any limits have been exceeded.
The company is required to take samples both upstream and downstream of the pumping station located at mile marker 20.8 on the Nolichucky.
The permit notes that the facility is designed to produce 200 tons of ammonia per dat, 600 tons of nitric acid per day and 840 tons of ammonium nitrate solution daily.
In a related development the company filed its monthly report showing the amount of water pumped from and back in to the Nolichucky during the month of September.
According to the report the company pumped 21.68 million gallons of water from the river with more than a million gallons drawn on 12 separate days. During the same time 8.5 million gallons of wastewater was dumped back into the river. On three days more than 500,000 gallons were discharged into the river.
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Tuesday, October 6, 2020

State Okays US Nitrogen Discharge

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

Tennessee environmental officials have given the go-ahead for US Nitrogen LLC to discharge up to 22,000 gallons of a test liquid along a Greene County roadway to determine if there are any leaks in a 12-mile long pipeline.
In a letter sent to Kim Ryans, a US Nitrogen environmental manager, an official of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation said discharge of hydrostatic water would be covered under the company's permit.
The Greene County chemical manufacturer had filed notice Oct. 1 that it intended to conduct tests on the 12-mile pipeline from the Nolichucky River to the company plant in Midway. The discharge will be made from a point in the pipeline along the right-of-way of McDonald Road 1,000 feet southeast of Lick Creek, about 1,800 feet from the Beulah Baptist Church.
Vojin Janjic, the TDEC water division manager, noted in the letter to Ryans, that it is up to US Nitrogen to get permission from the Tennessee Department of Transportation for the discharge.
Ryans also noted that ammonium nitrate manufacturer also must submit a report with TDEC on the discharge and it must be submitted no later than 30 days after the discharge has occurred.
US Nitrogen was also asked to indicate whether the test would be a one-time event.
Kim Schofinski, a TDEC spokeswoman said her agency was "not aware of any spills or illicit discharges from the US Nitrogen facility.
"While TDEC does not explicitly require testing for leaks in infrastructure related to permitted facilities, we do require that permittees must properly operate and maintain their infrastructure, which may necessitate scheduled testing for leaks or water loss," she concluded.
Ryans, the US Nitrogen environmental manager, has not responded to requests for comment on the reasons for conducting the tests.
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