Official: Southern Energy Told No One About Explosive Chemicals - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Official: Southern Energy Told No One About Explosive Chemicals

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by Todd Walker

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. - Southern Energy did not disclose it had hazardous chemicals on its property, according to Shelbyville City Manager Jay Johnson.

Johnson said city officials have combed through records and cannot find any instance in which the company reported having any amounts of methanol or caustic soda. Both of which are explosive chemicals.

Johnson said reports differ "substantially" on just how much of the chemicals were on the property.

"Many local businesses could have a small amount of chemical solvent for cleaning and things like that. That's not unexpected," Johnson said. "But if it's hundreds or thousands of gallons, that's a different story."

Johnson said the Fire Marshall inspected the facility in 2010 and in 2012 and found no signs of hazardous chemicals.

A diagram of the building drawn during the October 2012 inspection shows the site of the "future bio-diesel area" at the back of the building with four storage tanks. The tanks were not labeled.

TOSHA said it is investigating the incident, but cannot release any details.

Sources tell NewsChannel 5 Southern Energy had not posted any hazardous materials placards in the building.

On Monday NewsChannel 5 reported that questions had been raised as recently as June 2013 about Southern Energy's bio-diesel production at the facility in a commercially zoned building.

Southern Energy CEO Gary King said in a letter to the city it had complied with all "requirements given to us by the city."

Johnson said the amount of methanol and caustic soda on site Monday certainly violates commercial building codes.

King could not be reached for comment.


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