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Urgent Safety Advisory for Anhydrous Ammonia Nurse Tanks Issued

Urgent Safety Advisory for Anhydrous Ammonia Nurse Tanks Issued

By Jean-Paul McDonald

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) recently highlighted a significant safety concern for anhydrous ammonia nurse tanks.  

These tanks, specifically those manufactured by American Welding and Tank (AWT) at their Fremont, Ohio facility between January 1, 2007, and December 31, 2011, have been identified as having potential integrity issues. 

The call for heightened scrutiny comes after a 2009 model AWT tank catastrophically failed at a farm cooperative, forcefully ejecting from its original spot and traveling over 300 feet.  

Fortunately, there were no injuries, but the incident underscored the potential danger of these tanks. Previous investigations by FMCSA into AWT's manufacturing processes between 2009 and 2010 had already raised concerns about safety standards. 

In a subsequent evaluation, radiographic testing of several AWT tanks revealed significant issues like stress corrosion cracking and defects in the welds, indicating severe safety risks.  

Out of the tanks tested, only those made in 2012 passed without concerns, prompting a broader examination. A staggering 100 out of 142 tanks manufactured from 2007 to 2012 failed these tests, leading to a massive recall. 

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has strongly advised nurse tank owners to verify the manufacturer and manufacture dates on their tank nameplates.  

If they fall within the identified range, owners should have their tanks professionally inspected and approved before further use. Regular checks of safety features and accessibility to emergency equipment are also recommended to ensure operational safety. 

This advisory not only highlights the importance of maintenance but also serves as a reminder of the responsibilities of hazardous materials handlers to prioritize safety and compliance, thereby protecting both people and the environment from potential dangers. 

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