The company that ran the fertilizer plant in West, Texas dropped the ball in reporting the chemicals they were storing prior to last week’s explosion.
If a fertilizer plant has 400 pounds of ammonium nitrate they are supposed to report it to the Department of Homeland Security. The West Fertilizer plant had 270 tons of the substance. Former DHS official Bob Liscouski told KTRH that DHS can't do anything unless they know.
“DHS has a responsibility to follow up where it can. They can’t look at them all. There are so many plants and facilities to take a look at,” Liscouski explained.
So are there other plants not following the rules?
“There’s a good chance because it’s a self reporting mechanism. You have to go by the honesty and integrity of the companies doing the reporting,” Liscouski explained.
Liscouski says DHS is only responsible for following up.
“DHS has to do the assessment that the reports are accurate,” Liscouski stated.
Andrew Barron of Rice University says what happened last week could lead to regulatory changes.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if there are changes in industry guidelines,” Barron said.
Chemist Sam Mannan of Texas A&M thinks the best solution is a new v body to inspect the plants.
“Third parties would go in and inspect these facilities where other agencies don’t have the resources to do that,” Mannan said.
Mannan explained how the third party solution would work.
“That could be done where the facilities would pay for the inspections,” Mannan stated.
Of the more than 200 injured in the blast, 14 remain in the hospital. The White House says President Barack Obama will attend a memorial service for victims of the explosion on Thursday at Baylor University in Waco.