Sergeant Bluff Terminal - Executive Summary

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Farmlands Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, ammonia terminal is located on 65 acres in northwestern Iowa, adjacent to Nebraska border and 20 miles from South Dakotas border.  The terminal functions as a storage and distribution facility for the fertilizer used by some of Farmlands 600,000 producer-members to grow the crops that provide high-quality, low-cost food for families around the world. 
Facility snapshot 
Annual volume of 46,000 tons of ammonia, 34,000 tons of liquid fertilizer and 85,000 tons of dry fertilizer is distributed through the Farmland facility that has been supplying co-ops in northwestern Iowa, northeastern Nebraska, southwestern Minnesota and eastern South Dakota for three decades.  As a terminal, the facility provides a vital link in the chain of Farmland inputs. Anhydrous ammonia, produced at Farmlands nitrogen manufacturing facilities, is shipped to the Sergeant Bluff terminal wh 
ere it is stored until needed by local co-ops for their patrons fields.  By eliminating much of the shipping costs for the co-ops, the terminal helps contain the cost of fertilizer for Farmland member-owners as well as provide a convenient location for them to get their product. 
Impact on the community 
Farmland is a solid, reliable member of the Sgt. Bluff community.  Its employees are committed to customer service and the facility is available to service member-owners as needed throughout the year.  Farmland's Sgt. Bluff employees know their customers are also their neighbors and strive to "always be there if someone needs us." 
Employee snapshot 
Farmland has five full-time and one part-time employee with nearly 40 years of combined operating experience at its Sergeant Bluff terminal.  Although few in number, these employees have a large impact on the community in which they live.  They are involved in the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and in local area youth programs  
including financial support of the local Future Farmers of America (FFA). 
Farmland employees recognize community involvement and volunteerism as the most effective way to improve the communities they live in. 
Pollution Prevention Policy 
Farmland Industries Inc., is committed to protecting the environment and preserving our natural resources for future generations.  We pledge to eliminate or reduce our use of toxic substances and minimize our use of energy and the generation of all wastes to the extent technically and economically feasible.  We strive to prevent the generation of pollution at the source, but, where that cannot be achieved, we are committed to environmentally sound methods of recycling, treatment and disposal.  By preventing pollution at the source, we strive to achieve cost savings, increase operational efficiencies, improve the quality of our products and services, maintain a safe and healthful workplace and improve the environment. 
Risk Management Program 
This fa 
cility is subject to the Environmental Protection Agencies Risk Management Program Rule under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.  The Risk Management Program Rule require facilities handling threshold amounts of certain substances to develop a  Risk Management Program and submit a Risk Management Plan.  The Program requirements include submission of the risk management plan, hazard assessments defining possible off-site impacts of certain regulated substance release scenarios, a five-year accident history,development of a process accidental release prevention program, and an emergency response program. 
The following is the Executive Summary of the Risk Management Program for Farmland Industries, Inc.;  Sgt. Bluff Ammonia Terminal at Sgt. Bluff, Iowa. 
Stationary Source and Regulated Substances 
Initial construction and operation of the Sgt. Bluff Ammonia Terminal began over 3 decades ago.  Several changes, additions and improvements since that time have resulted in the current desi 
gn of the facility.  The anhydrous ammonia distributed from this facility is used as agricultural fertilizer. 
The Sgt. Bluff Ammonia Terminal is a distribution facility for anhydrous ammonia consisting of a 30,000 ton atmospheric storage tank, with a secondary containment dike, three 120 ton  pressurized ammonia storage vessels, a product heater, refrigeration compressors and assorted vessels and piping.  
Anhydrous Ammonia is the only substance, regulated by the EPA's RMP rule, that is used, or stored at the Sgt. Bluff facility.  The Ammonia storage and transfer process is subject to the RMP rule as a Program 3 process.  
Accidental release prevention and Emergency Response Policy 
It is Farmlands corporate policy to eliminate accidental releases of any substance, in particular hazardous and regulated materials.  The management and employees of this facility are committed to the prevention of any accidental releases.  Accidental release prevention is critical to the safe operation o 
f this terminal, the safety of its employees and the community. 
To achieve its accident and accidental release prevention goals, Farmland is committed to the following: 
7 A knowledgeable, motivated and highly trained employee group 
7 A well-designed facility that is maintained and operated in a superior manner 
7 Implementation of a Comprehensive Process Safety Management and Prevention Program 
7 Continual review and improvements that enhance safety and accident prevention 
7 Excellence in safety programs and practices, and a superior safety and accident record 
7 Planning, preparation and training for emergency response 
The Sgt. Bluff terminal has had a written Emergency Response Plan, as required by the RMP and other EPA and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules, in effect for many years, and is committed to implement the plan in response to any accidental release to minimize the impact to employees, the community and the environment.  The response plan is coordi 
nated with the Local Emergency Response committee and emergency response agencies.  Terminal personnel have interacted with these agencies for many years regarding the plan and activities at the terminal.  The facitily is included in the Community Emergency Response Plan. 
Employees are trained in the implementation of the plan and appropriate response activities that could be required in the event of an emergency. 
Prevention program 
The Sgt. Bluff ammonia terminal is subject to the OSHA Process Safety Management (PSM) rule, 29CFR1910.119.  This rule has required this facility to establish an accident prevention program which is equivalent to that required for Program 3 processes under the EPAs RMP rule. 
The OSHA PSM/EPA Prevention Program consists of a set of facility management policies and procedures that promote and recognize process safety and the prevention of accidents in processes that handle, use, store or process hazardous materials.  The procedures provide accident pre 
vention process controls to all aspects of process activities. 
The Sgt. Bluff terminal adheres to the requirements of PSM and has written policies and procedures addressing all aspects of PSM and EPA Prevention Program requirements including routine training and testing of employees and drivers that operate any part of the process, alarms to indicate operating conditions outside the norm, an off-hours phone notification system for abnormal conditions and automatic shutdown of ammonia transfer should control parameters fall outside normal conditions. The facility has addressed the elements of accident prevention included in these programs throughout its years of operation. 
The facility is diligent in adhering to and maintaining its Process Safety/Prevention Program. 
Emergency Response Program 
The Sgt. Bluff Ammonia Terminal has established an Emergency Response Program and has a written Emergency Response Plan as required by the Risk Management Program rule and other Environmental P 
rotection Agency and OSHA rules.  This plan is coordinated with the local community response plan and is available to those responding agencies. 
This facility is an active participant in the Local Emergency Planning Committee and interacts with various local agencies in its emergency planning.  These include local fire departments, law enforcement agencies and hospitals. 
Employees receive annual training on the facility emergency response plan and also receive additional safety training, both in general, and in the competencies relative to their required roles in the emergency response plan. 
Five-year accident history 
The RMP rule requires inclusion of the facilitys five-year accident history for all accidental releases of regulated substances that resulted in deaths, injuries or significant property or environmental damage on or off site.  
Farmlands Sgt. Bluff terminal has an excellent five-year accident record with no RMP reportable releases. 
Hazard Assessment 
Synopsis of wo 
rst and alternative-case release scenarios: 
The hazard assessment element of the RMP rule requires the evaluation of potential off site effects of "worst-case" and "alternative-case" release scenarios of regulated substances, in a Progam 3 process. 
The EPA has defined a worst-case scenario as the release of the largest quantity of a listed chemical from a vessel or process line failure, taking into account passive mitigation and administrative controls.  The impact of these potential releases must be quantified in accordance with release criteria dictated in the rule.  The projected impact distance is determined using EPA defined atmospheric conditions and is intended to provide a conservative estimate of the maximum possible area that might be affected.  According to the EPA, the worst-case scenario is intended to ensure that no potential risks to public health are overlooked, but the distance to an endpoint estimated under worst-case should not be considered a "public danger zone." 
Possible causes or the extreme improbability that such releases may occur are not considered. 
The alternative release scenario definition is a release that is more likely to occur than the worst-case release; however, as with the worst-case, the alternative release improbability is not taken into consideration. 
Worst Case Toxic Release - Anhydrous Ammonia 
Ammonia is a colorless gas with a strong pungent odor, and is one of the most widely used industrial chemicals.  It is prepared industrially from natural gas, steam and air.  Some of this ammonia is used for direct injection into croplands as a fertilizer.  A large amount of industrial ammonia is reacted with carbon dioxide to make urea fertilizer, or reacted to make ammonium nitrate fertilizer.  Ammonia is also frequently used as a refrigerant for the storage of perishable foods. 
Ammonia vapors can be irritating to the nose, throat, eyes and skin.  Direct liquid contact to the skin can cause severe burns. 
Farmland has considere 
d potential worst-case releases from the refrigerated atmospheric storage tank which is passively mitigated by a secondary containment dike and a bullet tank, the two largest vessels onsite. 
Farmlands hypothetical worst-case scenario involves an anhydrous ammonia release from the terminals 30,000-ton refrigerated  atmospheric storage tank.  The worst case release assumes, as required by the rule, that this entire quantity is released as a result of a catastrophic failure of the tank,with subsequent evaporation from the diked pool.  This unlikely event was modeled with a publicly available model (DEGADIS).  The impact of this release scenario is predicted to extend beyond the facility boundary and impact public receptors. 
This scenario, we believe, is a hypothetical worst-case event dictated by the rule and extremely unlikely to occur for many reasons.  In addition to the stringent design controls for this type of  vessel, facility maintenance and inspection programs address the int 
egrity of process and storage vessels, including this one, and largely preclude such massive and unlikely failures. 
Alternate Case Toxic Release - Anhydrous Ammonia 
More likely release events than the hypothetical worst-case, tend to concentrate in areas where the ammonia product is handled such as loading and other transport activities.  Generally, significantly lower quantities are involved, due to numerous shutdown safeguards present, as they are through out the terminal, and operator intervention which tend to mitigate and limit the consequences of failures. 
The hypothetical ammonia alternative release scenario considered for this process is a release of ammonia due to the failure of a 4" transfer pipe.  The pipe is assumed to fail and release ammonia for several minutes before employee intervention activates the Emergency Shut Down System which stops the release.  The impact of such a release was modeled with the DEGADIS model which shows that, under typical ambient conditions, 
the impact of the release would extend off-site. 
Planned Changes for Safety Improvements 
Safety improvements are a continual and ongoing process at the facility which is facilitated by the Prevention Program/Process Safety Management Program.  Formal process hazard analysis is conducted at least every five years, but review is constant through management of change procedures, operator training, incident investigation and mechanical integrity programs.  As a result, changes relevant to safety occur continuously as needs are identified through these procedures and policies.
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