Monday, August 29, 2016
TDEC, EPA Probing US Nitrogen Incidents
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
Tennessee environmental officials say they are coordinating efforts with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to investigate an apparent violation of pollution control regulations at the US Nitrogen plant in Greene County.
Eric Ward, spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation said today that state officials were coordinating with the regional EPA office to probe the release of nitrous oxide on Aug. 23.
A large orange cloud was clearly visible over the plant early that morning.
"We are currently investigating the matter," Ward said, adding "We have been in touch with EPA Region 4 regarding the incident and we will be coordinating with them throughout the investigation."
The release of nitrous oxide, apparently due to an equipment malfunction, is the third known event to occur as the company continues attempts to get its ammonium nitrate manufacturing facility in full operation
The company self reported earlier this month that it discovered in late July that it apparently violated state regulations by not having a scrubber in full operation during the startup efforts.
A US Nitrogen worker, meanwhile, suffered severe burns to his head in another recent incident at the $200 million facility.
That accident is being investigated by the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.