Issue Date: June 1, 2009
Safety Board Urges Regulation Of Storage Tanks
Bad welds and no regulatory oversight led to the release of nearly 2 million gal of liquid urea ammonium nitrate fertilizer and the contamination of a residential neighborhood and a Virginia river that flows into Chesapeake Bay, according to a report released on May 27 by the Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board (CSB). The accident occurred in November 2008 when two welders were putting the finishing touches on a job to repair and strengthen a large aboveground storage tank at Allied Terminals' facility in Chesapeake, Va., while it was being filled with fertilizer. A vertical seam split as the tank neared capacity, releasing the contents and critically injuring the two contract welders; two community members who came to their aid suffered inhalation injuries. Protective dikes overflowed, and at least 200,000 gal of fertilizer was not recovered and was assumed to have entered the Elizabeth River. The report notes that EPA regulates petroleum storage tanks, but fertilizer and other nonpetroleum tanks are left to state regulation. However, some 33 states, including Virginia, do not regulate these tanks. Along with calling for state or local oversight, CSB urged EPA and the Fertilizer Institute, a trade association, to require appropriate tank inspections.
- Chemical & Engineering News
- ISSN 0009-2347
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