Barge incident spills three-thousands pounds of fertilizer in Whittier harbor

Posted: Thursday, September 21, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Crews were trying to clean up 3,000 pounds of fertilizer that spilled in the Whittier harbor Wednesday after a railcar containing the material was being taken off a barge.

Department of Conservation officials blamed the 8:55 a.m. spill on a hopper gate valve that hooked onto a device that keeps railcars from rolling on barge decks. The fertilizer, a granular form of ammonium nitrate, spilled into the harbor. A small amout also fell to the deck of barge, according to the DEC.

Crews shut off the tank car valve and moved the car back to the barge, officials said.

The fertilizer is soluble in water, but not reactive with it. The DEC said the chemical can be reactive with petroleum products but it appears no petroleum products were involved.

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