The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is amending its hazard categories in the regulations (40 CFR part 370) for reporting under Sections 311 and 312 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) due to the changes in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). OSHA's HCS was revised in 2012 to conform to the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). Under the revised HCS, chemical manufacturers and importers are required to evaluate their chemicals according to the new criteria adopted from GHS to ensure that they are classified and labeled appropriately. Manufacturers and importers are also required to develop standardized Safety Data Sheets (formerly known as "Material Safety Data Sheets/MSDS") and distribute them to downstream users of their chemicals. These changes to OSHA's HCS affect the reporting requirements under sections 311 and 312 of EPCRA.
On October 31, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. while anhydrous ammonia (ammonia) field application assembly was making a turn at the end of the field, the hitch connection between the application/toolbar unit and the nurse tank failed. The break-away coupling device failed to disengage, causing the threaded fitting at one end of the withdrawal hose to fail resulting in the air release of ammonia. The video illustrates the ammonia release.
This video is the best source of details we have at this time regarding the fatal NH3 accident at a Boston, MA Seafood Warehouse, as well as a major NH3 release during an oil draining incident at an ice rink. The boston incident involved a liquid pipe on the bottom of the receiver.
These guys provide us the FIRST-HAND perspective of responding to uncontrolled releases of NH3. The ice rink incident also involved FF's using Turnout Gear as their initial response PPE and this resulted in two having to be transported for injuries. We also get insight into how professional FF's view NH3 hazards (Toxic and Flammability). WORTH your time to watch!
Shelby County Emergency Management Agency Director Jared Rowcliffe described in an email Wednesday afternoon that the driver connected the truck’s tank to the storage tank to offload, but the truck rolled. Instead of the hose breaking, causing an automatic shut-off, the fitting on the truck failed and the product was released. Fire Chief Troy Agney said the cause of the spill was due to “fractured plumbing” on the transport truck.
Official release is stated to have been 19 tons (38,000 pounds). CLICK HERE for the news story
On April 24, 2007, the town of Seward, IL was slammed with a catastrophic release of 40,000 pounds of NH3 at a fertilizer facility. That release covered most of the small rural town and it too was caused when the UNLOADING HOSE failed. Flash forward to April 5, 2016 and we have yet another TOTAL LOSS of a MC331 carrying NH3 which occurred during the UNLOADING process in Stewardson, IL. The Coast Guard's NRC Reports does not yet include April 5th so I am unsure of the amount lost, but from photographs we can see that it was a substantial release and the Shelby County Emergency Management administrator stated it was a 20 Ton (40,000 pounds) container being unloaded. One news account states the release was 19 Tons (38,000 pounds). According to the safety and regulatory director for the facility, "a contractor was hauling ammonia to the facility and off-loading product before the spill. The vehicle moved, causing the hose to stretch and then the break happened." News accounts state 200 were evacuated, with 20-25 injuries transported to a hospital and one admitted for further treatment/observation.
This week (3/20/16) we saw yet another serious incident involving a DOT propane container (MC331). And although there is NO doubt in my mind that the incident in Alabama last was clearly and unmistakably a BLEVE (most likely a COLD BLEVE from impact damage), this most recent incident in Callaway, MN was NOT a BLEVE. Here’s the evidence leading me to these suspicions…