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Texas plant explosion raises questions about Missouri facilities

By Jillian Fertig, Reporter, jillian.fertig@kmiz.com
Published On: Apr 18 2013 06:25:46 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 18 2013 11:10:34 PM CDT

A fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, on Wednesday night left behind devastating aftermath.

COLUMBIA, Mo. -

A fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, on Wednesday left behind devastating aftermath.

The Texas plant was fined $10,000 last summer for safety violations.

This raised questions about the inspection process of fertilizer plants in Missouri and how often they are performed.

The University of Missouri's Fertilizing and Ag Lime Control Service oversees all fertilizing plants statewide.

ABC 17 News spoke with the manager of the service, Joe Slater, who explained the inspection process.

Slater said 548 locations are registered to house and distribute fertilizer in the state of Missouri.

Investigators take samples of fertilizers from these plants every three weeks to make sure all chemicals are balanced to avoid dangers.

ABC 17 News researched and found published lists of inspection reports.

These reports detailed how much each type of fertilizer is in each plant and the amount of each chemical material in the building and in the fertilizer itself.

Some of these chemicals, such as ammonium nitrate or anhydrous ammonia, are highly flammable and can be dangerous if not frequently monitored.

While industrial accidents can happen at any time, ABC 17 News contacted the the MFA Fertilizer Plant in Columbia to see what precautions they have implemented to maintain a safe working environment.

Janice Schuerman with MFA Incorporated said in a written statement, "We have 128 employees scattered throughout the system who are designated as safety coordinators. At each location, the coordinator conducts a monthly safety meeting."

Schuermen also said they address any problems every month.

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