Extension and Ag Research News


Check for defective anhydrous ammonia nurse tanks

Recent safety advisory highlights potential problems with American Welding & Tank nurse tanks.

North Dakota farmers and agriculture retailers are encouraged to check their anhydrous ammonia nurse tanks following a recent safety advisory from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, says Rob Proulx, North Dakota State University Extension agriculture technology systems specialist.

The advisory focuses on nurse tanks manufactured from Jan. 1, 2007, through December 31, 2011, by American Welding & Tank at its plant in Fremont, Ohio. According to the safety advisory, nurse tanks manufactured by American Welding & Tank from 2009 to 2010 were subject to a prior Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration investigation and enforcement action due to improper manufacturing processes.

In August 2023, a 2009 American Welding & Tank nurse tank experienced a catastrophic failure. This resulted in the release of all product and caused the tank to propel over 300 feet from its original location. This incident, and results from follow-up testing of 150 additional tanks, indicate potential continuing problems with American Welding & Tank nurse tanks that have now been in service for over a decade.

Agriculture retailers and farmers who own anhydrous ammonia nurse tanks can identify if they have a 2007-2011 American Welding & Tank nurse tank by reviewing the tank manufacturer and date of manufacture listed on the American Society of Mechanical Engineers identification plates attached to the tank, which are required by state and federal law. Owners of affected tanks are strongly encouraged to arrange for a nurse tank inspection conducted by a certified cargo tank inspector in accordance with the standards of the Nurse Tank Inspection Program. According to a recent North Dakota Department of Agriculture news release, inspection is only required for tanks with a serial number beginning with 6.

A certified cargo tank inspection includes visual inspection, pressure testing using air or water, and non-destructive thickness testing. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Adminstration Cargo Tank Search lists 37 North Dakota facilities with active certification to conduct cargo tank inspections. To identify testing sites in North Dakota, select North Dakota from the state/country dropdown menu and click on “Search for Records” at the bottom of the page.

“Safety is paramount when handling anhydrous ammonia,” Proulx says. “If you own an affected anhydrous ammonia nurse tank, it is an essential safety practice to have it inspected at a certified testing facility. Only after thickness testing and pressure testing, along with visual inspection, should the nurse tank be considered thoroughly inspected.”

NDSU Agriculture Communication – May 3, 2024

Source: Rob Proulx, 701-231-5389, rob.proulx@ndsu.edu

Editor: Elizabeth Cronin, 701-231-7006, elizabeth.cronin@ndsu.edu

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