Risk Management for Anhydrouse Ammonia

Anhydrous Ammonia Safety
Nurse Tank FailureA recent catastrophic failure of an anhydrous ammonia nurse tank severely injured a Noonan farmer. Morton County also had a similar incident the same week but the tank exploded while parked in the field at night and there were no injuries. There are some basic safety precautions that farmers can take to reduce the risk of accidents. 

The first thing is to wear proper protective equipment when handling anhydrous ammonia which includes eye and respiratory protection, preferably a full face air purifying respirator with anhydrous ammonia cartridges, rubber gloves, a heavy duty long sleeved shirt and long pants. There should also be five gallons of fresh water in the emergency reservoir to flush contamination off the skin or clothing.

Nurse tanks need to be free of rust, dents or gouges that may reduce the structural integrity of the tank. Hoses and pressure relief valves must be replace based on the following schedule:


  • Rayon braiding – Replace 2 years from manufacture date
  • Nylon/Kevlar – Replace 4 years from manufacture date
  • Stainless steel – Replace 6 years from manufacture date


Relief Valves:

  • Must be replaced every 5 years if it has non-metallic seats
  • Must be tested every 5 years if it has metallic seats
  • The pressure relief valve must have a rain cap in place 
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