By Walter F. Roche Jr.
US Nitrogen has reported to Tennessee environmental officials that it discharged some 1.6 million gallons of water into the Nolichucky River during the month of April.
The discharges ranging from 388,189 gallons per day to 648,405 gallons per day were recorded from April 23 to April 25, according to the report filed with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation by US Nitrogen.
The firm also reported withdrawing 451,372 gallons of water from the river on April 1.
TDEC records show that the ammonium nitrate manufacturing facility first began withdrawing large amounts of water from the river in March.
The company report for that month showed 1.23623 million gallons were withdrawn from the river in the last few days of the month.
US Nitrogen officials have not responded to requests for information on the reasons for the withdrawals and subsequent discharges.
The company has not yet announced a date for beginning operations, although in a suit filed in U.S. District Court in Georgia, lawyers for US Nitrogen have charged that errors by an engineering firm have caused delays in beginning operations.
The April US Nitrogen report to TDEC, like the one submitted for March, was signed by Andrew Velo, the manager of the facility.
The monthly withdrawal and discharge reports are required under one of US Nitrogen's state environmental permits.
In a related matter TDEC has scheduled a hearing for June 9 on the proposed five year renewal of the permit authorizing US Nitrogen to discharge millions of gallons per day to the Nolichucky River. The session at West Greene High School will begin at 6 p.m. with a one hour question and answer session. Formal testimony will begin at 7 p.m.