DTN/The Progressive Farmer In-Depth

 

West, Texas Explosion Aftermath

A massive explosion at the West Fertilizer Company in West, Texas on April 17 raised questions about the safety of fertilizer storage, as well as what other options farmers have to fertilize their crops. DTN staff looks closer at the issue, as well as update what is happening with the investigation into what caused the explosion.

According to an EPA website, the West Fertilizer Company in West, Texas, had total storage for anhydrous ammonia of 54,000 pounds, a relatively small amount of storage for the nitrogen fertilizer. (Photos courtesy of Google Earth)

Inside You'll Find...

Stories:

Fertilizer Risks Questioned - The explosion Wednesday night at the West Fertilizer Company in West, Texas, raises questions about the safety of fertilizer storage.
(April 18, 2013)

Fertilizer Safety Concerns Ignited - Retail fertilizer prices remain in a calm pattern, DTN's weekly retailer survey finds.
(April 23, 2013)

Fertilizer's Risks Ignored - While not explosive by itself, ammonium nitrate must be kept a safe distance from blasting agents or other materials that could cause explosions, federal officials and experts caution. New regulations on the sale of the fertilizer have been six years in the making, but could be coming from federal agencies.
(April 24, 2013)

Ammonium Nitrate Needed, But Controversial - Ammonium nitrate has many fans, especially among the nation's fruit and vegetable growers. But as events such as the recent explosion of West Fertilizer Co. in West, Texas, and the 1995 bombing in Oklahoma City show, fertilizers can also have a lethal side.
(April 25, 2013)

Fertilizer Explosion Undetermined - The West Fertilizer Company in West, Texas, had 150 tons of ammonium nitrate on site, and estimates are 28-34 tons of AN were involved in the April 17 explosion there that killed 14 people and injured 200. However, investigators announced Thursday they have eliminated the highly flammable fertilizer as the cause of the disaster.
(May 16, 2013)

On-Farm Fertilizer Storage Regulations Vary by State - The recent tragedy in West, Texas, has sparked increased debate about regulations surrounding on-farm fertilizer storage. DTN research shows a mix of regulations exist, depending on where a farm is located in the nation.
(May 17, 2013)

Texas Lawmakers Begin Look at Reporting - In the aftermath of the West Fertilizer Co. tragedy, a Texas lawmaker told DTN that the state is in no hurry to pass legislation. Instead, lawmakers hope to establish better lines of communication in existing agencies.
(May 22, 2013)

Ammonium Nitrate Stockpiles Revealed - A DTN data search finds some potentially dangerous situations among 17 states surveyed that store solid ammonium nitrate near subdivisions and recreational areas.
(June 14, 2013)

Senate Plans Hearing on West Fertilizer - The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works has scheduled the first Congressional hearing this week to investigate the tragic explosion at West Fertilizer Co. in West, Texas.
(June 25, 2013)

West, Texas, Sues AN Supplier - West, Texas, officials are suing fertilizer supplier CF Industries in an attempt to recover tens of millions of dollars in damages caused by the April explosion at West Fertilizer Co.
(June 25, 2013)

Ammonium Nitrate Dangers Highlighted - A Senate committee was told the West, Texas, tragedy could have been avoided had West Fertilizer Co. followed OSHA regulations. Firefighters were said to be unaware of ammonium nitrate danger at the scene.
(June 27, 2013)

Firefighter Training Varies - As with fertilizer regulation, the amount of training firefighters and other responders receive, and the communications required about potential hazards between ag retailers and local safety officials, varies greatly, and errs on the side of too little.
(June 28, 2013)

Blogs:

Editors' Notebook - Probing for Fertilizer Info
(Jun 14, 2013)