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Ammonia leak forces evacuation, closes I-90 in southern Minnesota

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Anhydrous ammonia began leaking from two large tanks in southern Minnesota late Monday afternoon, leading to the evacuation of residents in the small town of Elkton, and the closure of a section of Interstate 90.

Anhydrous ammonia is used as nitrogen fertilizer. According to ABC 6 News, the tanks are operated by CHS.

They were located at a grain elevator on County Road 7 south of Elkton, according to the Austin Daily Herald. The 1,000-gallon tanks were about 85 percent full when they started leaking around 4 p.m.

The ammonia flow was shut off about 6:30 p.m., but a cloud of ammonia was hovering over the area for hours. A one-mile perimeter was set up around Elkton and residents in that area were evacuated from their homes as a precaution, the Daily Herald reports.

A section of I-90 was shut down between the Elkton and Dexter exits, said ABC 6 News, since the ammonia cloud was moving north toward the highway.

The highway was reopened to traffic around 9:30 p.m., according to KARE 11.

A few hours later, a second leak was reported at a location a couple of miles east of the first one, the Rochester Post-Bulletin reports. The Grand Meadows Fire Department said the tanks involved in that incident have been shut off, although few other details are available at this point.

No injuries have been reported, according to the Daily Herald.

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