Companies to Pay $1M for pipeline spills in Iowa, Kan., Neb.


May 29th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Kansas said today (Tuesday) Mid-America Pipeline Company, LLC and Enterprise Products Operating LLC (Enterprise), of Houston, Texas, have agreed to 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 natural gasoline pipeline spills near Onawa, Iowa, as well as in Kansas and Nebraska. 

As part of a consent decree lodged today in U.S. District Court in Omaha, Neb., and in addition to paying the $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 natural gasoline products between Conway, Kan., and Pine Bend, Minn. The settlement resolves Clean Water Act violations related to three spills, including one which occurred along the pipeline on August 13th, 2011. During the incident, a rupture happened near Onawa, which caused the discharge of approximately 818 barrels of natural gasoline directly into the Missouri River.  

In addition to the proactive inspections and outreach efforts, 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. 

The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval.