Thursday, September 28, 2017
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
Tennessee environmental officials have imposed a $1,500 fine on Greene' County's US Nitrogen LLC for violating provisions of one of its air pollution permits multiple times last year.
In a seven-page order issued this week, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation said that the violations occurred on two days in late October and one day in early December when the company was trying to start its nitric acid plant.
According to the violation notice, an amended permit originally issued to US Nitrogen in early 2012 required that the company limit to 15 the number of burners operating on its two ammonia trains during start-up efforts. The order was signed by TDEC Technical Secretary Michelle Walker Owenby.
The limit on burners was imposed after it was learned that US Nitrogen did not yet have a Selective Catalytic Converter in full operation, a requirement under the original permit for the anhydrous ammonia production plant.
The limits were set to ensure the plant did not exceed nitrous oxide emission limits, according to the TDEC notice.
The complain states that between 16 and 24 burners were in operation on Oct. 23, Oct. 24 and Dec. 2 of last year during three startup efforts.
Although the new notice states that TDEC can impose fine of up to $25,000 a day for such violations, it set the US Nitrogen fine at $1,500.
TDEC had issued a notice last month indicating it was proposing to take action on the violations, but did not disclose a proposed fine.
TDEC previously issued two permit violation notices to US Nitrogen for other permit violations, including failure to meet a testing deadline on its nitric acid plant. It imposed fines totaling $19,000.
Friday, September 1, 2017
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
Tennessee environmental officials have effectively dismissed two recent complaints about excessive emissions from a chemical manufacturer, concluding that the company did not violate its permits.
In letters to two local residents, Amanda Davis, a manager in the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, wrote that agency officials made an unannounced visit to US Nitrogen's Greene County facility and found no evidence of excess emissions.
The visit was on Aug. 16.
In the letters to area resident Sherry Arnold and Park Overall the TDEC official said "no visible emissions were observed" during the visit to the Midway plant.
"Additionally on site records did not indicate any excess emissions," the letters state.
Both letters from Davis were dated Aug. 31.
The two area residents had complained that orange clouds were emitted from the site where ammonium nitrate is produced for later use in explosives.
The letters also charged that the excess emissions were causing breathing problems.