The Rijnmond Environmental Department (DCMR) is investigating safety at Yara, a fertilizer producer in Vlaardingen. The service wants to know how safe the storage of ammonium nitrate is. This is the chemical that exploded on 4 August in the port of Beirut, with devastating consequences.
The direct reason for the investigation is an incident at Yara on August 13th. According to DCMR, potassium carbonate was discharged into a tank containing phosphoric acid. A chemical reaction followed, but after a while the situation was under control again, writes the service.
Better storage than Beirut
The incident happened 300 meters away from the stock of ammonium nitrate. According to DCMR and the Province of South Holland, 23 tons of that substance are currently stored at Yara. By way of comparison, 2,750 tonnes exploded in the Lebanese capital. The stock in Vlaardingen is stored “under much better conditions”, says DCMR.
As a precaution, the province of Zuid-Holland nevertheless commissioned a further investigation, because the incident of 13 August raised questions. The environmental department is looking into whether the safety situation at Yara needs to be improved. The usual inspection at the end of the year, which takes place every year, will also be brought forward.