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Public Notices

April 21, 2014

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Officials From US Nitrogen Explain Proposal For Wastewater Discharge

Originally published: 2013-08-24 01:45:33
Last modified: 2013-08-24 01:51:02

Staff Writer
Two representatives from US Nitrogen attended the Mosheim Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting Thursday to discuss the company’s proposal for a temporary split-flow discharge to the town’s wastewater treatment facility.

The appearance of the US Nitrogen representatives was not noted on the meeting’s agenda provided to The Greeneville Sun prior to the meeting.

Last week, at a called meeting by the Mosheim board, town officials were told by US Nitrogen representatives that the company is asking for a permit modification regarding its wastewater discharge.

The US Nitrogen facility, which will produce liquid ammonium nitrate, is now under construction off Pottertown Road in Midway. It is scheduled to begin operations in 2014.

The permit modification, if approved by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), would allow nearly 90 percent of the plant’s used water to bypass the main processing stages at the Town of Mosheim’s wastewater treatment facility.

This flow would instead be sent to the wastewater treatment facility’s aeration cascade, where it would join the facility’s treated wastewater flow — and then be discharged into Lick Creek.

If approved by the state, the company’s long-time plans are to discharge this particular flow directly into the Nolichucky River.

The remaining 10 percent of the company’s treatable sewage, which would come from restroom facilities and showers, etc., would flow through the wastewater treatment facilities’ main processing areas, just like wastewater from all other Mosheim sewer customers.

Hollie Binkley, environmental manager with US Nitrogen, and Kim Ryans, an environmental specialist with the company, were present at Thursday night’s board meeting to answer questions that the board members might have had regarding the issue.

The board approved the proposal, which essentially cleared the way for US Nitrogen to proceed with its plans on the split-flow proposal.

Reason for Proposal

Company officials say that about 90 percent of the manufacturing plant’s water usage will be for cooling purposes only in the plant’s manufacture of liquid ammonium nitrate.

It will not, they say, contain any chemicals from the plant’s manufacturing processes.

This water, they said, poses no more environmental risk to streams than treated wastewater that comes out of a sewage treatment facility.

As explained in earlier Sun articles by company officials, “ammonium nitrate is produced by combining nitric acid and anhydrous ammonia. That process creates ammonium nitrate — and heat.

“During the process to create the ammonium nitrate, 100 percent of the nitric acid and anhydrous
ammonia is consumed,” plant manager Justin Freeark, a chemical engineer, has previously explained.

“Therefore, no chemical byproduct exists to be disposed of, because none exists. That’s because it was consumed during the process that created the ammonium nitrate,” Freeark said.

The newly-processed ammonium nitrate will be cooled down by the massive amounts of water that US Nitrogen will send through miles of pipes in cooling towers.

This water, however, will not be in direct contact with the ammonium nitrate, officials say.

Direction Of Flow

According to an outline provided by US Nitrogen, the cooling tower flow going from the plant to the aeration cascade at the wastewater treatment facility would pass through two separate sampling and metering stations.

One station would conduct sampling after it leaves the plant and the other station would conduct sampling after it joins the treated wastewater before entering the cascade.
Company and town officials say they have not yet been told by TDEC what specific sampling will be required.

According to Mosheim Mayor Tommy Gregg, when original planning for construction of the US Nitrogen plant began about two years ago, initial estimates were for the plant to use one million gallons of water per day.

“We were informed that the sewage discharge would be 300,000 gallons (per day) or more,” Gregg said.

“At that point, we didn’t realize that only about 30,000 to 60,000 gallons of that would be treatable sewage.”

Gregg explained that the town officials were not fully informed at that time that the bulk of the water usage at the plant would be clean water, or “cooling water.”

This is why the town officials began to make preparations to expand Mosheim’s wastewater treatment plant to a capacity of 1.5 million gallons per day.

“Now there is no reason to expand because actually what they will put through our [wastewater treatment] plant is 30,000 to 50,000 gallons of treatable wastewater,” Gregg said.
“That leaves us with plenty of capacity to take on other industries,” Gregg added.

For more information and stories, see The Greeneville Sun.

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