Sunday, April 24, 2016
US Nitrogen Begins Pumping From Nolichucky
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
US Nitrogen has reported to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation that it has begun pumping water from the Nolichucky River, in apparent preparation to begin production at its new manufacturing facility.
In a monthly report filed with TDEC, US Nitrogen reported withdrawing large amounts of water from the river beginning on March 25. Additional withdrawals were reported for four consecutive days beginning March 28 and ending March 31, the last day covered in the report.
The report was submitted by Andrew Velo, who took over earlier this year as the manager of the facility which will produce ammonium nitrate for US Nitrogen's parent company, explosives producer Austin Powder.
According to the report, water was pumped from the river at rates ranging from 130 to 1,100 gallons per minute.
US Nitrogen officials, who have stated they plan to begin operations on a phased basis, could not be reached for immediate comment.
The company has been submitting monthly water withdrawal reports for several months as required under its TDEC permits. The prior filings, however, did not disclose any withdrawals.
According to the March report the water was withdrawn from the Nolichucky near the Conway Bridge.
The total amount of water withdrawn during the five days of operation totaled 1.23623 million gallons.
The water withdrawal report was submitted under one of several TDEC permits US Nitrogen has been granted by the state.
The water from the river will be used for cooling towers, according to company filings, and some, but not all of the water withdrawn will later be returned to the river.
The plan has drawn opposition from several local residents, including those who own property along the river.
The company disclosed last week that it had reached an agreement with Praxair, Inc to supply carbon dioxide at a facility that will be located on the US Nitrogen's 400 acre site. According to the annoucement Praxair will purify and liquefy carbon dioxide produced by US Nitrogen.
The carbon dioxide, according to the announcement, will be used in the production of soda.