SPRINGFIELD, IL (KFVS) - The Illinois Department of Agriculture asks farmers to make sure they review safety and handling procedures before applying anhydrous ammonia to their fields this Spring.
According to the department, accidental releases of ammonia increased to 50 last year, twice the annual average for the previous five years.
To prevent an accidental release, the department is advising these recommendations:
- Inspect anhydrous ammonia hoses before each use. Always purge ammonia from the hose or system prior to inspection.
- Perform regularly-scheduled maintenance on the tool-bar quick-coupler to assure it is suitable for service. A visual inspection should be performed prior to each use. Check to be sure hoses are the correct length for the type of nurse tank being used.
- Always use the safety chains provided on the nurse tank along with the attached hitch pin and safety clip.
- Before pulling a nurse tank on a roadway, purge all ammonia from the tool-bar and hoses and secure the end valves of the hoses to the parking plugs. Drive at speeds of 25 m.p.h or less.
In the event of an accident, report the incident to regulatory services within 15 minutes, if possible.
"There is no penalty for reporting an ammonia release on time, only for not reporting a release on time, so please don't be afraid to make the phone call," said Jean Payne, president of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association.
A wallet card that lists the phone numbers of the agencies that must be notified in the case of a release is available by calling the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association at (309)-827-2774.