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Producers throughout Michigan use anhydrous ammonia as a source of nitrogen fertilizer for crops. Anhydrous ammonia has several advantages, it is readily available and is a low cost form of nitrogen. However, anhydrous ammonia also has disadvantages, especially in its handling. It must be stored and handled under high pressure, which requires specially designed and well-maintained equipment. Workers also must be trained to handle this product and follow strict work procedures to ensure operator safety.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) reminds agricultural producers and dealers to be familiar with the safe use of anhydrous ammonia, understand the potential for injury, and know how to properly and quickly respond in an emergency situation.
Important Safety Points
- Always have an ample water supply close by;
- Always wear personal protective equipment;
- Never fill a tank over 85 percent of its capacity;
- Inspect hoses and valves regularly;
- Replace hoses at least every five years;
- Bleed off pressure in the hose before disconnecting it;
- Stay clear of hose and valve openings;
- Follow step-by-step procedures when using the equipment;
- Never try to repair the tank yourself - seek a qualified technician;
- Never tamper with relief valves; and
- Use a proper hitch, safety chains and a Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) sign when towing on the highway.
With proper precautions, anhydrous ammonia can be handled and used safely. It is imperative that all equipment is properly maintained and checked daily. A regular, scheduled maintenance program will help ensure that all valves and the tank are safe for handling the high pressure liquid and its vapor form.
For more information about anhydrous ammonia safety:
Anhydrous ammonia is one of the key ingredients in the illegal production of methamphetamine. The wrongful use of anhydrous ammonia is of great concern to the agriculture industry since it is widely used as a low-cost form of agricultural fertilizer. MDARD is working in cooperation with other state agencies, industry and other stakeholders to advise agricultural dealers and farmers on how they can help deter illicit use of anhydrous ammonia while protecting its safe, intended use.
If you see suspicious individuals or activity near anhydrous tanks DO NOT APPROACH OR CONFRONT these individuals.
Call the toll free tip line:
To report suspected manufacturing
activities of this illegal drug.
Anhydrous Ammonia Contacts
Four state agencies in Michigan, including the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, are responsible for certain components of anhydrous ammonia issues:
Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD), Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division
This agency is responsible for quality assurance and product licensing, and is the lead agency in the case of agrichemical spills.
Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), Air Quality Division and Emergency Planning
This agency is responsible for storage and handling systems, and issues permits for the location of stationary storage tanks. Facilities with anhydrous ammonia may also have emergency planning and reporting responsibilities under Sara Title III and the CAA (Risk Management Plan).
Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO), Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration
This agency handles safety requirements for storage and handling.
Michigan State Police (MSP), Motor Carrier Division, Hazardous Materials Section
This agency enforces the U. S. Department of Transportation regulation for labeling, marking, placarding, shipping and emergency response information.
Michigan Farmer's Transportation Guidebook - Page 23 discusses nurse tank marking.