By Walter F. Roche Jr.
US Nitrogen officials announced today that with construction of its manufacturing facility nearly complete, it will begin the process of putting the plant online.
In a statement issued today, US Nitrogen plant manager Justin Freeark said the start-up and testing will take place over the summer and fall with actual production being phased in.
The facility will produce ammonium nitrate which will be shipped to other facilities for the manufacture of explosives.
The start-up comes as the company continues to face legal challenges in courts in Davidson and Greene Counties.
“Testing and startup
processes for our facility will take place over several months, because
we are taking every safety precaution with each phase. Additionally,
comprehensive training has been completed,” Freeark said.
As part of that process, Freeark said, the company will begin utilizing a double pipeline from the plant to the Nolichucky River.
Freeark acknowledged that the testing and start-up processes will be at times noisy.
“We are committed to keeping the public up-to-date
on the progress of our facility’s operation,” Freeark said. “As part of
that commitment, we want to make residents aware of some noise and
sights they might experience as part of the routine start-up processes
and essential safety procedures,” he added.
He said the company has issued fact sheets to residents within a two-mile radius of the Pottertown Road facility.
Among the expected noises are "air blows" which will be used to remove dust and debris accumulated during the construction process. Freeark also said clouds of steam will be visible during the start-up.
Flare systems also will be tested and visible flairs are likely on the facilities stacks.