By Walter F. Roche Jr.
US Nitrogen has filed additional start-up notifications with Tennessee environmental officials amid multiple signs the Midway facility is gearing up for full operation.
Notices posted on the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation web site show the notices include the start-up of the anyhydrous ammonia production plant.
In previous notices US Nitrogen had indicated that plant was not yet ready to begin operations.
Other start-up notices filed by the Austin Powder subsidiary include a nitric acid plant, a steam generation boiler and a gasoline dispensing facility.
The filings list start-up dates ranging from early to mid-May.
The $200 million facility includes a double barrel 12-mile pipeline to the Nolichucky River. The plant will utilize millions of gallons of river water to run cooling towers. Some, but not all of the river water, will then be returned to the river.
The pipeline and use of the river water has been the most controversial aspect of the ammonium nitrate manufacturing facility. Several local residents have protested the use of the river.
TDEC has scheduled a June 9 public hearing on the proposed five-year renewal of a key permit for the plant's operation.
US Nitrogen officials have not responded to repeated requests for comment on the status of the start-up operations. Earlier they indicated a phased-in start-up would begin this year.