Mid-America Pipeline Company and Enterprise Products Operating of Houston will pay a civil penalty of more than $1 million to the United States to settle violations of the federal Clean Water Act related to three pipeline spills in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska.
As part of a consent decree recorded today in the U.S. District Court in Omaha, Nebraska, in addition to paying a $1,042,000 civil penalty, the companies have agreed to undertake various measures aimed at reducing external threats to their pipeline, enhance their reporting of spills, and spend at least $200,000 to identify and prevent external threats to the pipeline involved in the spills.
MAPCO owns and Enterprise operates the 2,769-mile West Red Pipeline, which transports mixed gasoline products between Conway, Kansas and Pine Bend, Minnesota. The settlement resolves Clean Water Act violations related to three spills that occurred along the pipeline:
• A 29 March 2007 rupture near Yutan, Nebraska, which caused the discharge of approximately 1,669 barrels of gasoline directly into an unnamed ditch and Otoe Creek.
• A 23 April 2010, rupture near Niles, Kansas, which caused the discharge of approximately 1,760 barrels of gasoline directly into an unnamed ditch, Cole Creek, Buckeye Creek and the Solomon River.
• A 13 August 2011 rupture near Onawa, Iowa, which caused the discharge of approximately 818 barrels of gasoline directly into the Missouri River.
“Pipeline ruptures and resulting spills can cause significant harm to the environment, so it is essential that pipeline owners and operators abide by federal laws intended to protect our land and waters,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice
“A frequent cause of pipeline breaks is the action of third parties during farming and excavation,” said Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Karl Brooks. “This settlement requires the defendants to honor a schedule of pipeline inspections on the ground and from the air, and reach out to local agencies, contractors and excavators to make sure they are more fully aware of pipeline locations and depths.”
The settlement also requires MAPCO and Enterprise to spend $200,000 to relocate, cover, lower or replace pipeline segments; install new remote shutoff valves; install new physical protections such as fences or concrete barriers; and install other new equipment, structures or systems to prevent spills from reaching navigable waters.