Dyno Noble wants to add a boiler to add to their pollution.

Explosives maker Dyno Nobel is looking to build a new boiler at its ammonia plant in Waggaman, a project that, if approved, would increase sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions by about 25%. The company has asked the Department of Environmental Quality to modify its existing permit to allow for the increases. Dyno proposes to install and operate a new natural gas-fired cogeneration boiler that will provide up to 300,000 pounds of steam per hour at the facility. Cogeneration boilers create electricity but also use the resulting heat to create power for internal use, rather than let it go to waste. The plant, which is located in Cornerstone Chemical Company’s 800-acre Fortier Manufacturing Complex, currently emits 135.1 tons of nitrogen oxide each year and wants to increase that to 171.6 tons. The amount of sulfur dioxide released would increase from 4.7 to 5.8 tons per year.

Sulfur dioxide stinks.

In large quantities, sulfur dioxide, known for its rotten egg smell, can cause respiratory problems. And when it combines in the atmosphere with nitrogen oxide and sunlight, it creates ground-level ozone. Nitrogen oxide also is a greenhouse gas linked to global warming. DEQ officials said the proposed increase in carbon emissions from the plant are below the threshold that would trigger any regulations related to the state’s new climate action plan regarding carbon sequestration. Dyno Nobel’s parent company, Incitec Pivot Limited, did not return calls for comment. Lisa Karlin, a River Ridge resident active among those concerned about safety and air-quality around the Cornerstone facility, said it’s difficult to gauge the appropriate level of concern with the available information, but residents continue to be wary of any expansions or additions to the plants there. “My very preliminary concern is that this is a big boiler and it is going to increase pollutants,” she said. “But honestly, I don’t know … It might turn out they need this.”

Transparency is an issue with the plant.

The broader issue is a lack of transparency. Karlin noted that just days ago, Dyno Nobel sent out an alert to nearby residents saying the plant went into “an unplanned shutdown.” Karlin said its those kinds of alerts, which typically aren’t explained or followed up on, that make residents uneasy. In February 2022, an explosion shook houses near the plant at 4 a.m., and the company sent a text alert four hours later referencing “a loud noise you may have heard” and adding that “all our employees are currently safe and accounted for.” A company spokesperson later told the media not it was not aware of any releases or offsite impacts. In 2019, there were two leaks of ammonia in amounts lower than the threshold requiring the company to report them to the state.

If DEQ issues the permit, which they probably will, emissions rise.

If the permit changes are approved, the total volatile organic compounds emitted would increase by 6% per year and the toxic volatile organic compounds would increase 3%, according to the application. The DEQ will be taking comments and requests for a public hearing on the current permit modification request up through Feb. 14. Emails may be submitted to and if there is sufficient interest, a public hearing will be held.

In Virginia we lived near Quantico and when we heard booms we knew they were training.

Dyno Noble wants to pollute more
Tagged on: