Tuesday, July 13, 2021

USN Aquatic Testing Plan Submitted

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

A consulting firm has submitted details of the testing it plans to perform to determine whether the operations of a chemical firm have had an adverse effect on the aquatic life in the Nolichucky River.
Dinkins Biological Consulting LLC submitted its 12-page plan to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. The tests will be focused around milemarker 20.8 in the Nolichucky River, the site where U.S. Nitrogen LLC pumps some 500,000 gallons of wastewater per day.
Dinkins said the efforts would "test the biological integrity and diversity of the receiving stream (Nolichucky)."
Just when the tests will be performed was not disclosed but the filing indicates it will likely be over a three month period ending in September. The filing states that TDEC will get notice about two weeks in advance of the testing.
State officials questioned US Nitrogen about the tests which were due to be performed months earlier only after local environmental activist Park Overall questioned why no test results had been disclosed.
US Nitrogen draws million of gallons per month from the river for use in the production of ammonium nitrate and related products. Some 500,000 gallons of river water not needed in production and cooling are pumped back in to the river.
In addition to gathering samples downriver from US Nitrogen's pumping stations, the consulting company also will collect samples upstream from that location.
As a further point of reference the company plans to collect sample from a separate river, the Powell River at McDowell Shoal.
The samplings will be taken within seven days of each other, according to the plan. The state will be informed if conditions force a change in that timetable.
The Dinkins filing states that the details of the testing plan were drawn up after consultation with TDEC officials.
The plan notes that data also will be gathered for comparison purposes from U.S. Geological Service gages along the river.
The plan states that the samples will be gathered in triangular dipnets and they will be brought to another firm, Pennington Associates of Cookeville, for testing. The results will be submitted to TDEC within 30 days of their receipt by Dinkins.
The samples will be "strictly controlled" by Dinkins until they are turned over to Pennington, the report states.
Contact: wfrochejr999@gmail.com

Thursday, July 8, 2021

US Nitrogen Submits Emissions Test Data

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

US Nitrogen LLC htoday submitted over 100 pages of test data which it says shows the company's emissions monitoring devices are functioning properly.
The Greene County chemical firm had the tests performed on it nitric acid plant by AMP Cherokee Environmental Solutions, according to the filing. A second firm, Southern Air Solutions was also involved in the tests performed at the Midway TN facility on June 8.
The company also submitted its monthly report on the amount of water pumped from the Nolichucky River. The amount used, 28.8 million gallons was the highest so far this year. In the 118-page emmisions montoring report, dozens of test categories were listed and all marked as valid.
The report states that US Nitrogen is a "nitrogenous fertilizer manufacturer".The company had not previously described itself as a fertilizer manufacturer but stated the ammonium nitrate was shipped to other locations for use in the production of explosives.
According to the report the company uses a Selective Catalytic Reduction device to control nitrous oxide emissions and catalytic decomposition for N20 emisions control.
The report states that the tests were performed in accordance with standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Attached to the report are a half dozen appendices.
It also states that the original AMP report was "modified" by US Nitrogen and another outside firm, Ensafe.
In the monthly river report the company, a subsidiary of Ohio based Austin Powder, said it drew 28.8 million gallons from the river in June. On 16 separate days during the month it drew more than 1 million gallons.
The highest daily total was 1.2 million gallons pumped from the river on June 19. The June figures compare with May when about 21 million gallons were pumped from the Nolichucky for use in the production of ammonium nitrate.
The report states that 13.6 million gallons of waste water were discharged back into the river during June. On 15 days during the month more than 500,000 gallons were discharged into the Nolichucky. The highest single day discharge of more than 700,000 gallons came on June 17.

Monday, June 7, 2021

US Nitrogen Files River Report

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

US Nitrogen LLC pumped a little over 21 million gallons of free water from the Nolichucky River last month, according to a report filed with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
The monthly report shows the ammonium nitrate manufacturer drew more than a million gallons on nine separate days with the largest day's withdrawal of 1.25 million gallons coming on May 24. On four days during the month a minimal amount of water was withdrawn.
According to the report a total of nearly 10.5 million gallons of waste water was discharged back into the waterway during May. The largest single day discharge of nearly 700,000 gallons came on May 27.
On seven days during the month the discharge was minimal.
The discharge and withdrawal come at the 20.8 milemarker on the river, about 12 miles from the company's Midway manufacturing facility.
The monthly reports are required under the terms of the company's TDEC permits.
Contact: wfrochejr999@gmail.com

Friday, June 4, 2021

US Nitrogen Inspections Delayed

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

Three scheduled compliance inspections at the US Nitrogen LLC facilities in Greene County were delayed by several months due to pandemic restrictions, according to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
Kim Schofinski, spokewoman for the agency, said the three reports are now being finalized. All three are to determine if the sites are in compliance with storm water runoff and related permit requirements.
"The time period of the inspection field activity was delayed due to observing COVID safety guidelines," Schofinski added.
Two of the inspections were due on Oct. 8 of last year and the third was due on Sept. 30, 2020.
The sites being inspected include the water treatment facility used to treat Nolichukee River water before it is used in the production of ammonium nitrate. That site is permitted to the Industrial Development Board of Greeneville and Greene County and US Nitrogen.
The other two permits were granted directly to US Nitrogen.
Contact: wfrochejr999@gmail.com

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

TDEC Waives 2nd USN Permit Requirement

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

Tennessee environmental officials have concluded that US Nitrogen LLC does not need a permit to utilize three 20,000 gallon sump pump water tanks.
In a letter sent today Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation manager James P. Johnston wrote that, based on data submitted by US Nitrogen, the use of the tanks will have an "insignificant" effect on the environment.
The approval marks the second time in recent weeks that TDEC has waived permit requirements for the Midway chemical company. The state gave its okay on April 30 to USN's use of a 52,250 tank to be utilized in producing an ammonium nitrate and water solution. The solution will be 57 percent ammonium nitrate and 43 percent water.
In the letter sent today to Dylan Charles, the USN plant manager, Johnston wrote said that based on USN's data, the tanks would emit less than five tons per year of air contaminants and less than 1,000 pounds of hazardous air contaminants annually.
In its application USN said that the water the tanks will hold will be no more than five per cent ammonium nitrate. They will each be 13.67 feet in diameter.
As he did in approving the other waiver, Johnston closed by stating that the company must comply with all applicable air pollution regulations.
Contact: wfrochejr999@gmail.com

Thursday, May 6, 2021

US Nitrogen Files Monthly River Report

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

A Greene County chemical firm withdrew nearly 25 million gallons of water from the Nolichucky River in the month of April, according to a report filed with the state.
U.S. Nitrogen LLC reported it pumped 24.6 million gallons from the river a substantial increase from the 18.9 million gallons the company reported for March.
The report submitted today to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation shows that on seven days during the month the company withdrew more than 1.4 million gallons from the riverway. On April 1, no water was withdrawn.
The same report shows a total of more than 10 million gallons was discharged back into the river during April. The highest discharge, over 600,000 gallons, came on April 6.
In March the company reported discharging 11.7 million gallons back into the Nolichucky. There was minimal discharge on six days of the month.
On 12 days the discharge exceeded 400,000 gallons.
Under its permits with TDEC the company is required to file monthly reports on its river water use. The water is pumped from the river through a 12 mile pipeline to its Midway facility.
In April the company pumped nearly 25 million gallons from the river and discharged a little over 10 million gallons. Contact: wfrochejr999@gmail.com

Friday, April 30, 2021

TN OKs USN's 52,250 Gallon Tank Use

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

Tennessee environmental regulators have agreed that the use of a 52,250 gallon tank to produce an ammonium nitrate solution is an insignificant activity and US Nitrogen does not need to get a permit.
In a letter sent today to US Nitrogen Plant Manager Dylan Charles, James Johnston of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation wrote thatnthe agemcy agreed with US Nitrogen's conclusion that a permit would not be needed.
The company advised TDEC in March that it intended to use the existing tank to produce a 57 percent ammonium nitrate-water solutuion.
TDEC approval comes after US Nitrogen informed the state that it had submitted erroneous data when it submitted the initial request. Corrected data on estimated ammonium nitrate emissions were included.
It has been dtermined the 57 percent solution tank constitutes an insignificant activity or insignificant emissions unit," Johnston wrote in the two-page letter.
Johnston wrote that "Specifically this operation would result in potential emission from this source of less than five tons per year of each air contaminant...and less than 1,000 pounds per year of each hazardous air pollutant."
He added that the March 8 letter would meet the 30 day notification requirement in state law and regulations.
"All applicable air pollution regulations must be met by your facility," Johnston concluded.