Mattie, of Augusta, says, “It seems like they take their time to do stuff around here. That's why a lot of people gotta suffer for it.”
South Augusta has several chemical plants on Columbia Nitrogen Road and New Savannah Road.
Darryl Grant, of Augusta, says, “I believe that if you're gonna do a chemical plant you should take it way out somewhere where it doesn't be here in the city because we're already dealing with a lot of emissions.”
Within the past year there were ammonia leaks at DSM Chemicals, PCS Nitrogen, and FPL Foods.
Georgia Regents University professor Dr. Thomas Dillard says, “Anhydrous ammonia is a product that's used commonly in the fertilizer industry and other industrial processes. It's also produced in chemical plants.”
Over the past year, each of these plants in south Augusta were investigated for releases of anhydrous ammonia into the atmosphere.
Dr. Dillard says, “Ammonia can be a lethal chemical in high enough concentrations, it can also be a benign chemical in very low concentrations and even as a normal part of human physiology.”
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) investigated each company-finding the incidents led to evacuations, but determined the leaks weren't big enough to take action.
“An ammonia release does not necessarily warrant enforcement action or a monetary penalty. We look at the company's actions prior to the release, during the release, and after the release, and the impact of the release, to determine if enforcement action is warranted,” said Kevin Chambers, of Georgia EPD.
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