By Ashley Yarchin

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Big concerns were brewing over local fertilizer factories after new information was released about the plant explosion in West, Texas.

The Texas plant stored 1,350 times the amount of ammonium nitrate that would normally trigger safety oversight by Homeland Security. Fertilizer plants must report to homeland security when they hold 400pounds or more. We're told now, it had 270 tons.

So, what does that mean for us and the two plants in the St. Louis area?

They are different but similar in that no one has been able to tell us how much of such hazardous materials are stored at the plants.

Gavilon Fertilizer in East St. Louis. That facility uses ammonium nitrate, just like the plant in West, Texas. It's a solid fertilizer that can be quite dangerous when mixed with other chemicals. That's what was used with diesel fuel in the truck bomb in Oklahoma City in 1995.

Koch Nitrogen in East Alton. That facility deals with the liquefied gas anhydrous ammonia. It's the fertilizer you might see in large white tanks on four wheels in fields that are being farmed.

The U.S. Coast Guard is in charge of the safety of those materials.

"The main concern we have around here with anhydrous ammonia is that it is one of the ingredients used in meth production," said Bryan Klostermeyer of the U.S. Coast Guard. "So, this is a problem with people that are going to make meth, sneaking into farmers' fields, and cracking the valve and the biggest danger there then is either to the person that's trying to steal the anhydrous ammonia or the farmer when he comes back to the field because it's an inhalation hazard and actually will burn your lungs."

Coast Guard officials were able to look back into records regarding any violations found at the plants and neither had anything major.

Late Monday, a Gavilon spokeswoman, Mary Palu, released this statement:
"Where required, Gavilon is in full compliance with the guidelines set forth by the Department of Homeland Security's Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards. Information regarding storage of regulated materials is considered sensitive security information; as such, we do not disclose locations or quantities of regulated materials.

"The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standard regulations are codified in 6 Code of Federal Regulations part 27 (6 CFR 27). Gavilon can only disclose to persons with a "need to know" in accordance with 6 CFR 27.400(e). Unauthorized release may result in civil penalties or other action. In any administrative or judicial proceeding, this information shall be treated as classified information in accordance with 6 CFR 27.400(h) and (i)."

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