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Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
Bill Northey, Secretary of Agriculture
 
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For Immediate Release
Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dustin Vande Hoef
Communications Director
515/281-3375 or 515/326-1616 (cell)
or Dustin.VandeHoef@IowaAgriculture.gov

NORTHEY ENCOURAGES FARMERS TO CLOSELY CHECK ANHYDROUS AMMONIA NURSE TANKS FOR LEAKS
Department has found several faulty tanks from American Welding& Tank

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today encouraged farmers to check any anhydrous ammonia nurse tanks they have on their farm for pin-hole leaks or faulty welds that could undermine the integrity of the tank.  Exposure to gaseous ammonia can result in lung damage and death, so it is very important that any leaks be discovered in a timely manner.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship conducts annual inspection of tanks located at commercial fertilizer dealers and have found several tanks from American Welding & Tank that had leaks.  The Department has sent a letter to all anhydrous dealers to share their concerns about the tanks, but wanted to communicate with farmers as well who will soon be starting fall fertilizer applications.

“Farmers will soon be taking anhydrous tanks out to the field for fall fertilizer applications, so it is important they take the time to look over their tanks and report any leaks to their local provider,” Northey said.  “We have been in contact with fertilizer dealers across the state to share our concerns about these tanks, but wanted to share with farmers as well so they can take steps to check their tanks and make sure they are not leaking.”

If a farmer finds a tank leaking they should contact their dealer who provided the tank.  Leaking tanks are a serious health threat and it is important farmers exercise caution and work with their local dealer.

The Department has issued “stop use” orders on fifteen tanks found to be leaking during its annual inspection process.  The U.S. Department of Transportation is responsible for the regulation of nurse tanks and have been informed of the Department’s findings as well.

Anhydrous ammonia is an efficient and widely used source of nitrogen fertilizer.  However, it must be stored and handled under pressure, requiring specially designed and well-maintained equipment.  Few problems occur when the ammonia is being handled and applied as intended.

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