UGA Professor Explains Fertilizer Explosion in Texas

Athens, GA-

The massive explostion at a ferilizer plant happened in a small town with a population of around 2,800 people in West, Texas. The distruction of West Fertilizer Company left hundreds of victims injured and only a few dead.

“I mean, the question would be if people can make bombs out of it then why do we make and and why do we even allow it to be sold? The reason is, is that it’s a very good fertilizer it’s the best and the cheapest way to apply nitrogen to your soil but it also has this explosive property,” said Professor William Miller from Crop and Soil Sciences at UGA.

The explosion in Texas has to do with a very specific kind of nitrogen fertilizer called Ammonium Nitrate. Ammonium Nitrate is a very concentrated ‘N’ fertilizer and it is the nitrate part that is explosive. If you look at the front of a fertilizer bag it has three numbers.

Professor Miller says, “Those three numbers stand for the Nitrogen, and then Phosphorous is the second number, and Potassium is the third number.”

Now if you are starting to get concerned about using fertilizer in your daily gardening you don’t have to worry. Fertilizer you buy from your local gardening store is completely safe.

“Keep fertilizer dry and you need to keep it away from any kind of source of ignition, most gardening fertilizers people buy are not explosive,” said Professor Miller.

Martha Kim



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