The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has released the records history of the West Fertilizer Co.The plant was built in 1962, before the federal government required such facilities to have federal air permit authorizations for certain chemicals. The plant did not receive the authorization until 2004.
In 2006, a citizen filed an official complaint with the TCEQ. The complaint said that an ammonia smell was "very bad last night from Fertilizer Plant,” and that the smell “lingered until after they went to bed.” The TCEQ investigated the plant and issued a violation because the plant had not gotten the required authorization.
After a commission investigation in 2006, the plant received two air permit authorizations: one for dry fertilizer materials, and anotherfor two 12,000-gallon anhydrous ammonia storage tanks.
Records show that the TCEQ has visited the plant several times since issuing the permit but noted no concerns about the company. There have not been any recorded complaints about the company since 2006.
Olivia Gordon is a reporting intern with StateImpact Texas.