cornerstone chemical company waggaman la

We need another fertilizer plant? One more is coming.

Texas-based American Plant Food has decided to move forward with its proposed fertilizer plant at the Cornerstone chemical complex in Waggaman. The company has applied for a permit from the state Department of Environmental Quality and, if approved, would start construction on the $225 million facility next year and begin operations in 2025. The plant would produce ammonium sulfate, non-hazardous, non-flammable sulfate salt that is used as a crop nutrient and fire retardant. It is also used in animal feed, cleaning products, construction materials and to treat municipal drinking water and sewage. DEQ is requiring a minor-source permit from the facility, which, according to the application, would emit 12.8 tons of of nitrogen oxide, a greenhouse gas linked to global warming, per year. It would also emit just under 25 tons per year of particulate matter, including about 10 tons per year of the type small enough to be inhaled deep into the lungs. Jerry Bilicek, American Plant Food’s chief operating officer, said the plant, which will have a production facility and a warehouse/transfer facility connected by a conveyor system, will be entirely enclosed and kept under negative pressure to minimize any dust or odor from escaping. “We’re conscientious of the need to keep any kind of dust and odors in our facility,” he said.

Some of the materials needed are made now at the complex.

The plant will use two materials already produced at the complex — sulfuric acid by Cornerstone and anhydrous ammonia by another tenant, Dyno Nobel — to produce the ammonium sulfate. It is also working on a process to extract ammonium sulfate from wastewater there that is now being disposed of in onsite injection wells. The plant would produce between 420,000 and 500,000 tons of ammonium sulfate per year, and the storage warehouse will have a 60,000-ton capacity. The permit says it will store up to 30,000 tons of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium that will come in by barge. Lisa Karlin, spokesperson for a group of residents in the Harahan and River Ridge areas concerned about air quality, said the community doesn’t need a fertilizer plant as a neighbor. She noted the facility will produce emissions regardless of its design, according to the company’s calculations in the permit application, and said residents worry disruptions caused by storms and hurricanes could cause stored fertilizer to sit and generate smells. “This would be the first chemical plant producing, storing, and transporting fertilizer in Jefferson Parish,” she said. “We have enough pollutants in our air already, we don’t need any more.”

It will be a sizable plant.

Bilicek said the production and conveyor component will occupy about four acres inside the Cornerstone complex’s fence line while the storage facility will be on roughly a dozen acres just outside of it, though it is still on Cornerstone property. American Plant food will also have to get the area for the storage facility rezoned by the parish. Most of the product will leave the facility by barge, with a small percentage by truck and the rest by rail, Bilicik said.

Oil and chemical plants love to come here because we have so many.

Fertilizer plant coming to Waggaman
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