How Safe Are Ohio's Fertilizer Plants? - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

How Safe Are Ohio's Fertilizer Plants?

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The explosion that happened in Texas Wednesday night would be unlikely in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

It all depends on how fertilizers are made.

In Lima, for example, there is a plant that uses nitrogen, but not ammonium nitrate, the highly combustive chemical believed to be used at the plant in Texas.

There are more than 800 fertilizer facilities of some type in Ohio; most don't have even the ability to be explosive.

What happened in Texas is very rare, experts said.

"Probably 95 plus percent of fertilizers do not have explosive elements in them," said John Schlichter, Deputy Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

"What you see mostly in Ohio is we've got a lot of folks that take different dry fertilizers and blend it together for different mixes, whether it be for your farm mix or for your turf mixes, and it would be just like going to your garden center, buying a couple different types of fertilizers, and you don't want to make two trips to do it."

The department of agriculture inspects facilities, and while the same chemicals aren't being used in Ohio, there is always a chance that something unexpected could happen.

"It causes us to take a step back and look at what we have in Ohio, how we regulate fertilizer in Ohio, and what our facilities look like, and I think that's something we're going to continue to review," said Schlichter.  

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