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Home > Ag Chemicals & Fertilizers > Fertilizers > Anhydrous Ammonia Program > 2013 Anhydrous Ammonia Tips from the Field

2013 Tips from the Field

MDA’s Anhydrous Ammonia Inspection and Permitting Program

In 2012 the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) completed 104 routine anhydrous ammonia (NH3) equipment/storage facility inspections and 44 complaint/incident investigations. To date, in 2013 financial penalties have resulted in 20% fewer actions. The MDA believes this reflects a greater focus and commitment to safety by permitted NH3 facilities which will likely translate to fewer NH3 incidents in the future. The MDA hopes the information in this document and on the Anhydrous Ammonia Program webpage will continue to encourage greater compliance in the future. We hope that you have a safe and productive field season and please contact us at the phone numbers/e-mail addresses listed at the bottom of this page.

Dangerous Violations and Remedies:

1. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), NH3 gloves & goggles, not available and worn for NH3 handling or maintenance. Make NH3 gloves and goggles available.  Wear NH3 goggles & gloves for NH3 handling & maintenance.
2. Too long withdrawal (WD) hosing Proper length of WD hose for specific application assembly, positioned above the nurse tank hitch with no chance of catching, being pinched, rubbing, or tearing during field applications and transport. 
3. Incorrectly installed break away coupling devices - not installed per manufacturer’s recommendations Review and follow manufacturer’s instructions.  Operation of break-away coupling devices must not be impeded in any manner.
4. Safety water not provided of sufficient quantity and accessibility during NH3 handling or maintenance. Facility:  One accessible open top container with 150 gallons of clean water or a deluge shower/plumbed eyewash at the NH3 facility.
Field:  Five (5) gallons on nurse tank.  Additional accessible five (5) gallons during freezing conditions.
5. Pressure activated (PA) bypass not tested to operate in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications. Conduct a PA bypass test operation in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications, or perform a test at the time of the inspection.
6. Unseated nurse tank valves resulted in a notable proportion of all incident reported to the MDA. Inspect and hand tightens valves often, particularly during the use season to verify leak-proof closure.
7. Unlocked facility when unattended to prevent vandalism, and unauthorized persons. When facility is unattended, lockout main tank/riser hose end valves or lock gates at facilities secured by fencing.  When facility is attended, have a clear view of unlocked valves.
8. Traffic Protection that does not provide suitable provisions to protect NH3 storage tanks, piping, and nurse tank riser area from moving vehicles and equipment. Install suitable traffic protection around riser and bulk tank areas.  Review MDA traffic protection guidance fact sheet.  Contact the MDA if you have questions.

The MDA strongly recommends that self-inspections be conducted and non-compliance corrected.

MDA Contacts

Ed Kaiser

Bob Rialson - Southwest Minnesota

Jeff Lorentz - Central Minnesota

Jim Freilinger - Southeast Minnesota, various

Scott Revier - Northwest Minnesota