- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
- Below is a news release drafted jointly by the Washington
State Departments of Agriculture, Ecology and Health.
- Contact: Ted Maxwell (360) 902-2026 WSDA Mike Louisell
(360) 902-1813 WSDA
- DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE ISSUES STATEWIDE STOP-SALE
ORDER FOR URANIUM-CONTAINING FERTILIZER PRODUCT
- OLYMPIA - The Washington State Department of Agriculture
(WSDA) today issued a statewide stop-sale order to Siemens Power Corporation
of Richland regarding the unauthorized distribution of an unregistered,
hazardous waste-derived fertilizer. The product is an ammonium hydroxide
solution that is a waste material from the production of nuclear reactor
- WSDA is taking this action after discovering that Siemens
Power Corporation has been distributing the waste product for use as a
fertilizer since 1996. The stop sale and distribution order is issued under
WSDA's authority to prohibit distribution of unregistered fertilizers in
- "The material is not registered as a fertilizer
in Washington and has not gone through our review process" says Bob
Arrington, assistant director of the state Department of Agriculture's
Pesticide Management Division. "This material is considered 'waste-derived'
under fertilizer law and must be reviewed not only by WSDA, but by the
departments of Ecology and Health.
- There is some uncertainty regarding the extent of radioactive
material in the product. "To the best of our knowledge, the level
of uranium in the product is below the allowable release limit as established
by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission," said John Erickson, director
of radiation protection, DOH.
- "From what we have learned from DOH and Ecology,
there is no known health concern related to uranium at or below that level,"
Arrington said. However, WSDA has reason to believe that there may be other
hazardous constituents in the material, which would come to light if and
when the material undergoes the review process for registration. Until
that happens, the material cannot legally be distributed as a fertilizer
in this state.
- Under the 1998 Fertilizer Regulation Act, all waste-derived
fertilizers must be reviewed by the Department of Ecology to ensure that
they do not violate state restrictions on disposal of hazardous wastes.
By failing to apply to the state for review of its product, Siemens bypassed
that mandatory review.
- "We supported the fertilizer law two years ago to
make sure the public knows about these waste-derived products," said
Greg Sorlie, Ecology's statewide manager for hazardous waste. "Even
if there is not imminent threat, we are concerned that such a product has
been sold and used without our knowledge."
- Approximately 390,000 gallons of the material has already
been distributed from Siemens since 1996. WSDA is currently following up
on the distribution to determine where the product went. If you have purchased
or are holding any of this material WSDA requests that you contact its
fertilizer registration staff at 360-902-2025.
- Note to editors: For technical information regarding
this issue please contact John Erickson (360) 236-3210 at Department of
Health and Miles Kuntz (360) 407-6748 at Department of Ecology.
- From Brasscheck <email@example.com
- 20 years ago or so, I wrote away for information about
being an intern at an "agricultural research center" in Oklahoma.
- When I got the information, I almost fell out of my chair.
The deal was they were diluting nuclear waste with fertilizer for free
distribution to farmers. Kerr-McGee was the beneficiary of this contribution
to agricultural science.
- I never followed up on this. Maybe someone out there
knows if that facility in eastern Oklahoma is still operating and if they
are still in the "agricultural research" business.
- "He who knows best knows how little he knows."
- - Thomas Jefferson
- SIGHTINGS HOMEPAGE
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