Sunday, April 16, 2017
US Nitrogen Use of Nolichucky River Spikes
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
US Nitrogen began pumping water from the Nolichucky River at an increased rate in March with a total of 7.6 million gallons drawn, up substantially from recent months, according to a report filed with Tennessee environmental officials.
The report filed last week with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation by US Nitrogen also show over 2.5 million gallons were discharged from the Greene County manufacturing facility during the same period.
The figures in the report come as the Midway ammonium nitrate manufacturing facility continues in its on-again off again efforts to reach full operation. Earlier this month the company, a subsidiary of Ohio based explosives manufacturer Austin Powder, reportedly managed to get a nitric acid plant to start up after several failures dating to last year.
Even as the company continues start-up efforts, it has filed permit extension requests citing poor market conditions as a cause for delays. In that filing the company said that they would be unable to sell as much ammonium nitrate as the $200 million plus plant could produce.
The delay request follows an announcement by the company claiming the plant had reached "full capacity.
The new monthly water discharge report, which is required under US Nitrogen's permit, shows nearly 2 million gallons of water were pumped from the Nolichucky on March 5 and March 16 while nearly 1.3 millions were pumped on March 4.
Smaller amounts were pumped from the river on five other days in March.
The company discharged more than 600,000 gallons into the river on two days, March 20 and 21, according to the report signed by US Nitrogen Plant Manager Andrew Velo.
In its report covering February US Nitrogen reported it pumped 2.4 million gallons back into the Nolichucky but withdrew no river water during that period. In January the company pumped 3.4 million gallons from the river and discharged 3 million gallons.
In December of last year the company discharged 1.95 million gallons into the river, but did not pump any water from the river.
The use of the Nolichucky water has proven to be the most controversial aspect of US Nitrogen's operations, with environmental groups and abutting landowners registering multiple objections.
The company has declined to respond to multiple requests for comment on its start up efforts.