An odor reported by many Rolla residents Tuesday night turned out to come from an ammonia liquid being processed at an industrial plant located on Twitty Drive.
According to Ron Smith, training officer with the City of Rolla Fire and Rescue, the 911 center in Rolla received about 20 to 30 complaints from callers about an ammonia smell in the area of Twitty Drive, Forum Drive and Maxwell Street.
Fire crews checked out the source of the odor and discovered that a company, Catalytic Innovations, was processing an ammonia liquid at a plant located at the end of Twitty Drive, just south of Interstate 44.
Smith said that when the chemical is heated up, it gives off a gas. While the company typically processes about 7,000 gallons at a time, on Tuesday night, when the strong odor was reported, the plant was doubling its processing, Smith said.
The odor was also noticed because of a low pressure system over the area, causing the vapors to stay close to the ground, and winds blowing south of the plant, Smith explained.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is investigating the incident and air quality from the vapors discharged to ensure that the plant’s operations are safe.
No evacuations were ordered and the fire department did not stop the plant’s processing, Smith said.