West
6:13 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Industry Group Says All Facilities Should Report Ammonium Nitrate

Ammonium nitrate was the active ingredient in the West Fertilizer plant explosion last year. Monday, an agriculture industry group asked that even companies that every facility that stores the fertilizer report it. 


"We feel that if you have ammonium nitrate in your facility you ought to be reporting, putting it in your Tier II report," Said Donny Dippel, president of the Texas Agriculture Industries Association. "...Even if you’ve got a 100 pounds . You can do a lot of damage with 100 pounds of ammonium nitrate."

Only companies that have over 10,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate have to report to state officials how much of the explosive fertilizer on hand. Presently there are 194 places in Texas that have more than 10,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate, but that number gets a lot bigger when you start looking at companies that have fewer than 10,000 pounds.

Two-thirds of the facilities in the state that store ammonium nitrate are in areas without fire codes. Only counties with a population greater than 250,000 can adopt a fire code. State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy says that even if all counties could adopt a fire code, not all of them would.

"The challenge with adopting a fire code is that you’ve got to have someone there to enforce it. So there’s an FTE cost there. So I understand that," Conneally said.

Last week the Texas Fire Marshal’s office released a report saying that West Firefighters were unprepared for the blast.