- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
Agrium uses nitrogen oxide gases in the manufacture of nitrogen-based fertilizer at its Kennewick plant. On Aug. 1, 2004, the facility released approximately 1,337 pounds of nitrogen oxide gases into the air, creating a reddish-brown plume in the sky that resulted in over 100 calls to 911 by local citizens. Nitrogen oxide gases are considered hazardous and, at high enough levels, can damage the respiratory system, and burn the eyes and skin.
The facility did not report the release to proper authorities until the following day, approximately 20 hours after it was discovered.
Federal laws require facilities that use and store hazardous chemicals to report releases immediately to the National Response Center, the State Emergency Response Commission and the Local Emergency Planning Committee.
The Alert Notification System included in the settlement will allow emergency managers to automatically send alerts and instructions via telephone to people who may be affected by future chemical leaks or other hazards.