Saturday, October 15, 2016
US Nitrogen Ups River Withdrawals, Discharges
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
A monthly report filed by US Nitrogen with Tennessee officials shows a dramatic increase last month in the amount of water being drawn and discharged into the Nolichucky River.
The increase came as the ammonium nitrate manufacturing facility continued its efforts to start up all phases of its $200 million Midway operation. The rocky startup included the late August discharge of a large orange cloud of nitrogen gases that hung over the 500 acre site.
According to the report filed with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, a total of 8.7 million gallons of water were withdrawn from the river between Sept. 10 and Sept. 29. The largest single amount, a little over a million gallons, was drawn on Sept. 28.
Discharges into the river totaled 4.3 million gallons over seven days between Sept. 18 and Sept. 29.
The company has indicated that once it is in full operation some 2 million gallons of water per day will be pumped from the river.
According to the report the maximum rate of withdrawal from the river was 1,350 gallons per minute.
In its August report the company reported withdrawing only 8,000 gallons from the river and discharging 1.2 million,
Opponents of the project have expressed several concerns about the use of the river water including the effect of the discharged water on endangered species.
TDEC, however, recently renewed the major permit making use of the river possible until 2020. Tennessee officials concluded the discharge of up to 2 million gallons of water per day would have a minimal effect on the river.