Monday, November 30, 2015
Key US Nitrogen Permit "Administratively Extended"
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
A key state permit granted to US Nitrogen by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has gone past its original expiration date, but has been "administratively extended" as state officials review a renewal application.
TDEC records show the permit allowing US Nitrogen to discharge millions of gallons of wastewater in the Nolichucky River had a Nov. 30, 2015 expiration date.
US Nitrogen submitted a renewal application on June 2 and TDEC records indicate that state officials subsequently made a site visit to the new ammonium nitrate facility in Midway. Those officials made note of the fact that the facility has not yet gone into operation.
A spokeswoman for US Nitrogen said Monday that the company was told by state officials that the existing permit was extended.
"The permit is administratively extended as they (US Nitrogen) submitted a complete application in a timely manner," Amanda Jennings said US Nitrogen officials were told by state officials.
The existing permit was issued in June of last year.
Company officials have announced plans for a phased-in start up late this year.
The state records show local residents, including Donahue Bible, have written the state agency expressing their opposition to the permit.
The permit file also shows that magnesium levels in all groundwater monitoring spots recently showed levels substantially exceeding benchmark levels. The company has attributed the readings to naturally occurring factors and the recent application of fertilizers.
US Nitrogen has already constructed a 12-mile double pipeline to move water to and from the river. According to the application, the pipeline enters the river at 20.8 miles from its origin.