Tuesday, November 8, 2016
TDEC Okays US NItrogen Deadline Extensions
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
Tennessee environmental officials have approved a series of extensions in deadlines for US Nitrogen to complete a corrective action plan triggered by a June compliance inspection of the firm's $200 million Midway facility.
In a letter dated Monday, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation set a new deadline of Dec. 31 for US Nitrogen to complete tasks including installation of new steam condenser and stabilization of exposed soil.
Bryan B. Carter, a TDEC official, stated in the two-page letter that while the agency agreed to the extension, "the division respectfully requests the tasks be finished before the extended deadline whenever possible."
The extensions were requested in early October.
"The extension is granted in recognition of ongoing delays in initiation of full facility operations and specific delays in equipment receipt and installation," the TDEC letter states.
In addition to the new condenser and soil remediation, TDEC extended the deadline for completion of measures to prevent stormwater pollution on the site.
The attempted startup of the ammonium nitrate manufacturing facility in August resulted in a large orange cloud hanging over the US Nitrogen site.
Company officials later acknowledged that the discharge resulted in a violation of air pollution control standards.
Plant Manager Andrew Velo subsequently reported to TDEC that the emissions included nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide, "both are extremely hazardous substances."
US Nitrogen has indicated in recent comments to the media that they expect to be in full operation before the end of 2016.