March 18, 2010

CSB Officially Files Investigation into Liquid Fertilizer Tank Failure as Closed Based on Acceptable Action

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) notified The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) this week that it has officially closed its investigation of a November 2008 large liquid fertilizer tank failure that occurred in Chesapeake, Va. In a letter to TFI President Ford B. West, CSB Chairman and CEO John Bresland recognized TFI’s efforts to urge its member companies to follow recommended practices for tank welding and inspections and to incorporate these practices into third party contracts governing the storage of large quantities of liquid fertilizers.

The CSB also praised TFI’s effort to reconvene its Urea Ammonium Nitrate (UAN) Tank Working Group to review existing tank inspection guidelines. In June 2009, TFI launched renewed efforts to promote its Aboveground Storage Tanks of Liquid FertilizerRecommended Inspection Guidelines and raise awareness of its commitment to product stewardship initiatives that enhance the safe handling and storage of fertilizers. The effort culminated with the December 2009 release of an updated version of the guidelines titled Aboveground Storage Tanks Containing Liquid Fertilizer – Recommended Mechanical Integrity Practices.

“We are pleased that the CSB has recognized the value of our guidelines by recommending that we continue to promote them as an industry best practice among our members,” said TFI President Ford B. West. “We extend our thanks to the industry professionals who dedicated their time and expertise to this effort.”

TFI’s updated guidelines, which were developed by the 2009 UAN working group comprised of TFI’s membership, provide a suggested uniform program to evaluate the condition of large, aboveground storage tanks of liquid fertilizer. Specifically, the guidelines suggest that storage tanks meet two standards developed by the American Petroleum Institute (API) to ensure adequate safety measures in the construction, inspection, repair and alteration of large storage tanks.

“The CSB recognizes that there can be significant time and energy involved with implementing the recommendation and we value working with TFI to improve the health and safety of workers and the public,” noted Bresland.

About the Fertilizer Institute

The Fertilizer Institute represents the nation’s fertilizer industry. Producers, wholesalers, retailers and trading firms which comprise its membership are served by a full time Washington, D.C., staff in various legislative, educational and technical areas as well as with information and public relations programs.