Fertilizer plant had some run-ins with regulating agencies

April 18, 2013 6:32:26 PM PDT
We're learning more about the company that operated the fertilizer plant that blew up in a massive explosion in West, Texas.

The plant reportedly admitted to the Environmental Protection Agency in 2011 that it did not have sprinklers and other safety mechanisms required by state law.

The fertilizer plant has had no major accidents in the past five years. But it has had several run-ins with both federal and state regulating agencies.

Federal regulators fined the company $10,000 last summer for safety violations, according to the Associated Press. The government later allowed the company to pay $5,250 after it fixed the problems.

The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration found the company planned to transport anhydrous ammonia without making or following a security plan. An inspector also found that the plant's ammonia tanks were not properly labeled.

In 2006, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality responded after a nearby homeowner complained of a strong ammonia smell. Inspectors found that the plant was operating without a permit.

"In resolving the complaint, we got them in to the compliance by getting the authorizations there," said Zak Covar with Texas DEQ.

A search of OSHA inspection records show there have not been any safety inspections by that agency done at the facility for at least the last five years.
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