After the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, in April Trupointe decided to confront the subject head on to the residents of Milford at Monday night’s Milford Town Council meeting.
Brian Manges, director of Safety and Risk Management at Trupointe, declared to the council that the products which caused the explosion will not be used at the new facility.
Anhydrous ammonia, a nonflammable chemical often stored in pressurized containers similar to the storage of propane, will be kept at the facility. However, Manges said the product was at the facility in West, Texas, but not involved in the fire. According to Manges, the product which was involved in the explosion in the facility was ammonium nitrate.
“We’ve never carried that product and we don’t intend to,” Manges said. “It’s not something that’s used a lot. It’s a pretty specific chemical.”
Manges reiterated that while research is still being done, neither of these two chemicals appear to be the cause of the accident and no fertilizer on the facility will be flammable.
At the meeting, state Rep. Rebecca Kubacki, along with others, expressed concerns through questions regarding emergency situations, size of the facility and the exact work the facilities will be doing. (StaceyPageOnline.com first addressed this matter in April).
Manges confirmed that the company has standard emergency procedures and is working with the hospital in case of emergencies. He said that the company will allow the fire department to tour the facility, however, since the department is voluntary – like many departments the company deals with – it will be up to them to take the time to learn about the facility and protocol for dealing with the chemicals, but the company is willing to cooperate.
Tom Miller, project manager for Trupointe, informed the council that much of the land purchased will be part of the rail line system, nearly two miles of railway will be built on the property. The Milford fertilizer and grain facility will serve, more than anything, as a hub for drop-offs and pick ups of products.
He stated that a large portion of the facility will also be driveway, to help get people off of the road since there will be room for more than 100 semis on site property.
Right now, the plant is being designed to hold dry and liquid fertilizer, seed grain and ammonia. There are no plans to manufacture animal feed at the facility.
“Probably the biggest concern would be environmental, if something were to get away from us,” Manges admitted. He also stated that storage containers are reinforced and that there will be shut off and detainment procedures in case something does happen. “We’re trying to put the latest and best technology into today’s building.”
He stated that the only real concern to the air quality would be fertilizer dust, as chemicals are transferred from rail, to storage unit, to truck and shipped back out.
All of the building slabs are ready so construction on buildings could begin any time, however the crew is more concerned about railways and land layout first.
The plant should have enough fertilizer to cover farmers within a 60-mile radius of Milford. Farmers collecting liquid fertilizer will be able to swipe a card to be billed and fill up their trucks on a 24/7 automated system.