Minnesota Anhydrous Ammonia Facilities Tightly Regulated
ST. CLOUD (AP) - Minnesota doesn't have ammonium nitrate fertilizer plants like the one that exploded in Texas last month, but the state does have anhydrous ammonia storage facilities that can be potentially dangerous.
Inspection records show almost all the state's nearly 300 such facilities had some problems in their last inspection, with some of the most recent inspections as long as five years ago. In three cases, violations resulted in monetary penalties.
State regulators and facility owners say that while anhydrous ammonia fertilizer does pose a health threat, Minnesota's tight regulations and numerous safeguards protect public safety.
Anhydrous ammonia is not explosive, but exposure can result in severe burns to skin, eyes and lungs, and prolonged exposure can cause suffocation. Handlers need to wear protective equipment.