Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association
Supply · Service · Stewardship

Ammonia Release, Safety Reminders

With the 2019 spring season just beginning, seven ammonia releases have already occured in the state of Illinois. The latest incident took place yesterday in Beach Park, IL. Beach Park is roughly 50 miles north of Chicago, just near the Wisconsin border. A grower was transporting two side-by-side ammonia nurse tanks behind an ammonia tool-bar with his tractor at 4:30 in the morning when the incident occurred. It was reported that 37 people were transported to the hospital, with up to 7 people listed as being in critical condition.
If the grower is in possession of anhydrous ammonia and a reportable release of 18 gallons or 100 pounds occurs, it is the grower's responsibility to immediately notify the proper emergency personnel.  Although your customers may not want to make the calls, it is their responsibility per federal and state regulations to contact these agencies if the release occurs while they are in possession of the ammonia.  Both IEMA and USEPA have made this very clear.  A written follow-up report is also required and must be sent to IEMA and the LEPC.
Ammonia release contact information can be found here:
►  No more than two ammonia trailers in tandem behind a truck or one ammonia trailer behind a tractor and tool-bar.
►  No more than 25 mph when pulling ammonia tanks.
►  When hauling anhydrous ammonia nurse tanks or other implements of husbandry after sunset,  the towing vehicles or implements of husbandry must be equipped with an amber rotating or flashing light.  The lights can also be operated during daylight hours but they are required between sunset and sunrise. 
►  Always perform a walk around inspection of the towing vehicle, tool-bar and ammonia tank prior to transit.
►  When transporting ammonia tanks on any roadway, always shut off ALL valves on the ammonia tanks and disconnect any transfer hoses between the tool-bar and ammonia tank.  Secure all hoses to the parking plug on the tool-bar.
►  Always utilize proper PPE and make sure each nurse tank has 5 gallons of fresh clean water.
Please pass this information along to your growers and employees.If you have further questions, contact John or Jason at IFCA