The ABC15 Investigators discovered some Valley fertilizer companies have been cited for violating state or federal safety regulations related to the chemicals they keep on their properties.
In 1997, the Fertizona company in Waddell, AZ was cited by the United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration for violations related to a deadly incident on its property.
According to an accident investigation summary provided by OSHA, an employee was driving a forklift and struck a section of a pipe on the property. "The pipe blew out from its junction, releasing the contents of two 5,000 liquid gallon anhydrous ammonia tanks," the report said.
One of the employees died. Another person was hospitalized.
A Fertizona spokesperson told ABC15 the incident occurred way before her time at the company. She said the company was sending "positive thoughts and energy" to the people of West, TX, who were victimized by a deadly explosion at a fertilizer distributor on Wednesday.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY ACTIONS
The ABC15 Investigators also discovered the Environmental Protection Agency fined the Fertizona company in Yuma, Coolidge, San Tan, and Casa Grande more than $14 thousand in 2004 for "failing to develop and implement procedures aimed at safeguarding the community from chemicals stored at their facilities."
According to the EPA, the facilities were storing anhydrous ammonia in quantities over 10 thousand pounds.
"The facilities failed to ensure that all elements of their risk management program, as required under the Clean Air Act, had been prepared and implemented," and EPA press release indicated.
It is unclear how often the EPA conducts inspections at facilities that deal with fertilizer. In 2004, another Arizona company, Apache Nitrogen Products, Inc. was fined $40 thousand for Clean Air Act violations for emitting high levels of nitrogen oxide between 1999 and 2002.
AZ Dept. of Agriculture
According to Laura Oxley, a spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Agriculture, fertilizer dealers are required to register with the state.
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