Haifa Court: Empty ammonia tank within ten days

Haifa judge rules Haifa Chemicals must empty ammonia tank, find other solutions to ensure Israel's supply.

Netanel Katz ,

Haifa Bay factories
Haifa Bay factories
Flash 90

Haifa Judge Jada Bosul ruled on Sunday afternoon that Haifa Chemicals must empty the ammonia tank in the Haifa Bay within ten days, and is no longer allowed to add ammonia to the tank.

She also ordered the company to find alternatives which will ensure a sufficient ammonia supply in case of emergencies.

According to a report submitted to the Haifa Court, Israel needs less than 3,000 tons of ammonia, but is currently storing over 12,000 tons, most of which will be exported.

"Green Course" CEO Mor Gilboa said, "As an organization which has worked for years to reduce the influence of the petrochemical industry in the Haifa Bay area, we are very happy with the court's ruling... The ammonia tanks are Haifa's ticking time bomb, and it's time the Israeli government put an end to the plans these polluting companies have for expansion in the area.

"The government must view this as a national challenge which requires the intervention of many government offices, together with the appropriate budgets. The government must help the Haifa Bay area recuperate, and must work to give the Haifa metropolis' nearly 1 million residents a clean future."

Green Course leader Lihi Shahar said, "We are happy the court has ordered Haifa Chemicals to empty the ammonia tank within ten days. This is a sword turning above the heads of tens of thousands of Haifa residents, as well as thousands more people who live along the coast, where the ammonia boats anchor.

"We expect the Israeli government to continue its work to clean the Haifa Bay area of the enormous amounts of dangerous chemicals, first and foremost by halting the expansion of the petrochemicals industry."

In December 2016, Haifa Chemicals received a summons to a hearing with the Environmental Protection Ministry. The Environment Minister in 2015 promised the ammonia tank would be gone "within three years."

On February 1, Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav presented a report proving Haifa Chemicals' ammonia tank presented a huge risk to 600,000 people, who would be killed within fifteen minutes were the tank to explode, rupture, or collapse.