Wednesday, December 14, 2016

TDEC Reviewing US Nitrogen Data

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

Tennessee environmental officials are reviewing new data submitted by US Nitrogen following 60 days of continuous monitoring designed to set limits on emissions for cooling towers which will be used in the production of ammonium nitrate.
The data submitted, according to Kim Schofinski of the Tennessee Deparment of Environment and Conservation, shows the electric conductivity of the water being processed through the towers. That, in turn, will provide officials with a way to measure the emissions of particulates in the cooling tower water.
"Since the concentration of solids in the water cannot be continuously monitored," Schofinski said, "the permit requires the company to monitor conductivity of the cooling water as a surrogate."
The more solids in the water, the higher the conductivity she said, adding that the maximum allowable particulate emission rate is .17 pounds per hour.
She said the data US Nitrogen collected and submitted will now be reviewed by agency officials to set a maximum daily average conductivity which will then be incorporated into US  Nitrogen's permit. Currently there is no limit in the permit, she added.
In submitting the data, US Nitrogen Plant Manager Andrew Velo asked TDEC to set a maximum daily conductivity rate of 2,750 units.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

US Nitrogen Completes Startup Tests

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

US Nitrogen has notified Tennessee environmental officials that one phase of needed startup testing has been completed with 60 days of continuous operation of the cooling towers at its Midway manufacturing facility.
In a letter to Michelle Owenby of the division of air pollution control in the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, US Nitrogen Plant Manager Andrew Velo reported the results of the 60 day monitoring of daily average conductivity ratings.
Based on those test results requested that TDEC incorporate into its permit a maximum daily average of 2,750 units.
The tests for total dissolved solids were conducted on cooling tower return water.
TDEC recently approved a series of amendments to US Nitrogen's permits giving the company additional time to report testing results. The extensions were sought following an aborted plant startup effort in August which produced a thick orange cloud that hung over the 500 acre site. 
In addition to the testing results US Nitrogen has submitted a series of photos showing efforts to come into compliance with TDEC findings during a recent inspection of the ammonium nitrate manufacturing facility.
The pictures show steps taken to control runoff and the installation of a new heat exchanger.