The Fertilizer Institute Releases Updated Aboveground Storage Tanks of Liquid Fertilizer - Recommended Inspection Guidelines

Guidelines Promote Fertilizer Industry’s Commitment to Stewardship and Safety


January 10, 2010
Guidelines Promote Fertilizer Industry’s Commitment to Stewardship and Safety

Washington, D.C. – The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) announced that it has completed a review of its guidelines for aboveground storage of liquid fertilizer, which it recommends should be incorporated into contracts with third parties for the storage of these products. As a result of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board’s (CSB) investigation into the failure of a two million gallon liquid fertilizer tank (UAN) at Allied Terminals, Inc., Chesapeake, Va., TFI had agreed to bring together a task force of industry experts to update this valuable resource.

“These guidelines represent an important voluntary initiative that the broad agriculture community can adopt,” said TFI President Ford B. West. “We urge all of our members and affiliated associations to help distribute these recommended mechanical integrity practices to their suppliers, members and customers.”

TFI originally issued its recommendations in 2001. During the 1990’s a series of costly aboveground fertilizer tank failures prompted companies to begin an aggressive assessment of large tanks in their inventory in an effort to determine whether these tanks were fit for service. In addition, as a result of these failures, several state regulatory agencies began to examine current regulations for the aboveground storage of liquid fertilizer, and, where no regulations existed, to consider promulgating such regulations. At the direction of the TFI’s Executive Committee, a Tank Integrity Work Group was established in September 2000 to review the issue of inspection and maintenance of large non-pressurized liquid fertilizer tanks. The guidelines represented the consensus of the Tank Integrity Working Group, setting forth suggested, uniform industry inspection and maintenance guidelines.

As the result of a large catastrophic liquid fertilizer tank failure on Nov. 12, 2008, in Chesapeake, Va., the CSB conducted an investigation and issued a report on its findings and recommendations. Among the recommendations was for TFI to do more outreach to encourage the use of its guidelines and to encourage its members who contract for liquid fertilizer storage to incorporate the use of its guidelines in contracts. In view of the CSB recommendation and at the direction of TFI’s Executive Committee, a UAN Working Group was convened in 2009 to review, and where appropriate, update the guidelines.

The updated guidelines can be downloaded from the homepage of TFI’s Web site at

“We encourage everyone to make sure that when distributing the guidelines, they are handing out the updated version dated ‘December 2009’ on the cover,” said TFI’s West.

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.