GREENE COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – Operations are temporarily suspended at one of the U.S. Nitrogen plants in Greene County. Early Monday, News Channel 11 found out the state is stepping in after an equipment malfunction.
People in the community say they’ve had concerns for a while now. Photos sent in to the WJHL Newsroom on August 23rd show huge plumes of yellow-orange smoke coming from the U.S. Nitrogen Nitric Acid Plant on Potter Town Road in Mosheim, TN. a
It is a sight Jimmy Wright and his wife Jean are used to seeing lately. They have lived in the community for nearly a decade, but since the plant was built, they have been concerned about emissions.
“We do not feel safe here,” Wright said.
On the same day, News Channel 11 received pictures U.S. Nitrogen says it exceeded federal requirements for the amount of certain gases it can release in a 24-hour period.
Officials with U.S. Nitrogen are calling this an equipment failure, they say after they noticed there was a problem, they immediately notified the state.
A statement from the plant manager says in part:“In compliance with reporting requirements, U.S. Nitrogen notified the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of this exceedance and also notified the Greeneville/Greene County Office of Emergency Management and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.”
“I want the state to check it out and make sure that it is safe around here and that we are not breathing toxic fumes or nothing,” Jimmy Wright said.
U.S. Nitrogen does not believe the gasses posed any risk to human health or surrounding properties.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation are investigating. State officials say it is too early to say if enforcement action will be taken.
The company is completing the final steps of the startup processes of its plants in Greene county and anticipates being fully operational within the next few weeks.