Anhydrous Ammonia

Contact: Clean Air Assistance Program, 800-662-9278
Agency: Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

An introduction for agribusiness and farmers of the state and federal regulations regarding the storage and handling of anhydrous ammonia fertilizers. A printable version of this document is available.

Are You In Compliance?

photograph of the front of an anhydrous ammonia tank


Anhydrous Ammonia Fertilizer

Air Permit
Emergency and/or Risk Management Plan
Safety Standards
Tank Security



Anhydrous ammonia is a valuable, low cost form of nitrogen fertilizer used in Michigan agriculture. It is stored as a liquid in high-pressure tanks at agricultural retailers and on farms. Unintended releases, whether from theft or farm operations can be dangerous to human health. By being proactive and maintaining compliance with your local, state, and federal regulations, anhydrous ammonia can be used safely and securely for its intended agricultural purposes.

How much do you store?

If You Store You Need
500 lbs
(approx. 91 gallons)
to notify your Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and the MI SARA Title III Program
500 gallons
  • an air permit
  • an emergency response plan
  • to comply with MIOSHA safety standards
10,000 lbs
(approx. 1,820 gallons)
  • a risk management plan
  • to comply with federal chemical facility security standards

Notifying Your LEPC and the MI SARA Title III Program

Your LEPC and the Michigan SARA Title III Program must be notified if you have 500 pounds or more of anhydrous ammonia on site, even if the anhydrous ammonia is on site only during applications. Your LEPC is required to write an offsite emergency response plan for your facility or farm. Contact your LEPC or the Michigan SARA Title III Program at 517-292-7272 for more information.

Notification cards are available on the back of the Michigan State University Extension Bulletin E-2575, "Emergency Planning for the Farm."

This bulletin is available from your county extension office and can also be found at the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program web site. The emergency farm plan in this bulletin is used by the LEPC to fulfill their planning responsibilities for farms.

Getting an Air Permit

If you have a stationary anhydrous ammonia tank that holds 500 gallons or more, you must have an Air Permit to Install.

You may apply for a General Permit to Install if your tank capacity does not exceed 30,000 gallons. If your tank capacity is greater than 30,000 gallons, you must apply for an individual air Permit to Install. For assistance with your permit application or if you have questions, call the Clean Air Assistance Program at 800-662-9278.

Emergency Response of Risk Management Plan

If you are required to have an air permit, you are also required to have an onsite Emergency Response Plan. The emergency response plan must be approved by your local fire department or county emergency response agency.

Farms are encouraged to use the plan template in "Emergency Planning for the Farm." For assistance with this plan, contact your LEPC or call 888-678-3464 to contact your county extension office.

A Risk Management Plan (RMP) is required by federal regulation if you are distributing anhydrous ammonia and store more than 10,000 pounds onsite in one or more tanks. Information about RMPs is available at the Michigan Prepares web site.

MIOSHA Safety Standards

The air permit conditions require that you comply with the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act (MIOSHA) safety standards, Part 78: Storage and Handling of Anhydrous Ammonia. These standards address tank specifications including safety relief valves and restrictions on the tank location.

Your air permit also requires that you have an inspection and maintenance program that assures ongoing compliance with the MIOSHA safety standards. Most importantly, safety relief valves must be manufactured or recertified within the past five years. Inspections must be conducted at least twice per year prior to spring and fall application seasons.

For statewide safety and health assistance to employers, visit Michigan Occupational Safety & Health Administration web site or call 517-322-1809.

Secure Your Tanks

Anhydrous ammonia is a key ingredient in the illegal production of methamphetamine, making farms a target for anhydrous ammonia theft. Tank security is important!

Photograph of a farm with the following words at the top reading Methamphetamine: Formula for Disaster!

To report suspicious activities related to anhydrous ammonia security and theft, contact the Michigan Meth Hotline at 866-METH-TIP (866-638-4847) or your local police department.

In 2007, the Anhydrous Ammonia Safety and Security Practices (AASSPs) were developed. These are recommendations addressing the storage and handling practices for the agricultural use of anhydrous ammonia. Sellers and end users implementing the AASSPs are granted immunity from personal injury and property damage claims caused by anhydrous ammonia theft or unlawful use. The AASSPs can be found at Anhydrous Ammonia Safety and Security Practices web site.

The adoption of the AASSPs helps ensure that farmers can continue to use anhydrous ammonia fertilizer by preventing its theft for drug production. If you have any questions, call 800-292-3939.

In addition, if you store 10,000 pounds or more of anhydrous ammonia you must comply with the federal chemical facility security standards. Complete a preliminary online assessment at the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency to determine the level of risk associated with your facility or farm. For more information, call 866-323-2957.

Report all chemical releases!

Report Spills and Releases

A release of 19 gallons (100 lbs.) or more must be reported immediately (within 15 minutes) to all of the following:

  • Local Authorities: 911
  • State Authorities
    • Agriculture Pollution Prevention Hotline (Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development): 800-405-0101; or
    • Pollution Emergency Alerting System (PEAS), EGLE: 800-292-4706
  • Federal Authorities
    • National Response Center (United States Coast Guard): 800-424-8802

For Spill and Release Information go to the SARA Title III Spill Release Reporting web site or call the Michigan SARA Title III Program at 517-284-7272. Because it is difficult to determine the amount of a release quickly, it is recommended that every release be reported.

There is no penalty for over-reporting!