Saturday, July 9, 2016
US Nitrogen Exec Named in Texas Environmental Records
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
The top manager at US Nitrogen's $200 million Tennessee facility was named twice in notices of violation issued to his former employer, Rentech Nitrogen Pasadena LLC by the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality.
Two citations for exceeding pollution limits were issued by the Texas environmental agency, one each in 2014 and 2015. The company paid fines totaling $82,500, according to agency records. The citations list Andrew Velo as the "respondent" and "general site manager" for Rentech's Pasadena, Tex. manufacturing facility.
Velo was promoted to US Nitrogen's top Tennessee job of plant manager late last year. He replaced Justin Freeark, the first appointee to the post.
Velo joined US Nitrogen in March of last year and originally held the title of construction and maintenance manager, according to a company announcement of his promotion. The press release also noted Velo's prior employment with Rentech, including his service in Pasadena, Tex.
TCEQ officials cited Rentech at least two times during Velo's tenure, the records show.
In a notice issued early in 2015 Rentech was cited for "failure to comply with maximum hourly emission rates" for sulfuric acid. The limit under Rentech's permit limit was 4.4 pounds per hour, according to the citation.
Rentech was fined $52,500 and ordered to submit plans to ensure compliance in the future. The fine was originally set at $65,250 but was reduced by $13,050 because the company agreed to an expedited settlement.
In 2014 Rentech was cited also at its Pasadena facility for failure to comply with permitted water quality limits for "Enterocci (a bacteria), total nickel and ammonia nitrogen." A formal notice of the violation was issued on June 2, 2014.
Rentech was fined $37,500, but it was reduced by $7,500 when Rentech agreed not to contest the matter.
Texas records show the company also was fined in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Velo and US Nitrogen spokeswoman Amanda Jennings did not respond to multiple emails seeking comment on the Texas citations.
Rentech, according to public records, sold its facility in Pasadena, Tex. earlier this year to an unrelated firm. The plant produces fertilizer.