1. News

Up to two tons of fertilizer spilled into channel leading to Tampa Bay, Kinder Morgan reports to state

TAMPA — As much as two tons of fertilizer accidentally spilled into a channel that leads to the upper part of Tampa Bay, according to a report sent Friday night to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

DEP spokeswoman Dee Ann Miller said the agency deployed an emergency response team to the site of the spill, where it worked to scoop as much of the water-soluble fertilizer out of the channel as possible.

A Kinder Morgan health and safety manager reported the Port Sutton Terminal spill to the state at 8:30 p.m. Friday and indicated that the incident took place about 6:40 p.m. The address of the spill, 4310 Pendola Point Road, is the natural gas transportation company's bulk terminal.

Representatives for Kinder Morgan, which is based in Houston, said the fertilizer spilled at 7 p.m. "during routine vessel discharge operations."

"The company is monitoring the area and does not expect any environmental impacts," Kinder Morgan said in a statement. "Appropriate regulatory agencies have been notified and an investigation into the cause and quantity of the release is being conducted."

Kinder Morgan's web site says the 16-acre Port Sutton Terminal has a covered warehouse capable of handling up to 200,000 tons of commodities such as fertilizers, salt, ores or other dry bulk materials.

The type of fertilizer that spilled — called 21-0-21 — is high in nitrogen.

Andrew Hayslip, who founded the nonprofit organization Tampa Bay Waterkeeper to monitor and improve the bay's watershed, said that amount of nitrogen could cause algae blooms and kill fish.

"The Port Sutton Channel flows into Hillsborough Bay, which is already an impaired water body," said Hayslip, who has a background in environmental science.

The spill was not on Port Tampa Bay property and is not affecting port operations, spokeswoman Samara Sodos said Saturday evening.

Hayslip said he plans to go to the site of the spill Sunday to check on the water's quality and wildlife.

Times Staff writer Richard Danielson contributed to this report. Contact Sara DiNatale at