Farmer stops ammonia leak before HAZMAT arrival

A farmer was able to stop an anhydrous ammonia leak before firefighters and the local hazardous materials team could arrive on scene.

Fort Dodge Fire Chief Steve Hergenreter said the leak was reported at Nelson Avenue and 170th Street a little after 4 p.m. Tuesday.

A farmer was pulling a 3,000-gallon anhydrous applicator and Hergenreter said a leak happened in the hose fitting between the applicator and the tractor.

The farmer noticed the leak.

“He was able to shut down one of the main valves and get it controlled for a majority of it,” Hergenreter said.

There was just a small leak when the Fort Dodge Fire Department and Region V Hazardous Materials Response Team arrived.

“We had him shut down a couple more valves and get it all taken care of,” the fire chief said.

He added that luck was on the firefighters’ side because the wind was blowing away from the road, which had heavy traffic. There were also a large number of people on the nearby jogging trail.

“It’s not an ideal place to have an ammonia leak,” Hergenreter said.

No injuries were reported, and the fire chief said the farmer was planning on taking the tank to NEW Cooperative to get the leak fixed.

Hergenreter believes the applicator blew an O-ring, which caused the leak.

Fort Dodge police and Webster County Emergency Management were also on scene.

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