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Magellan Ammonia Pipeline, Enterprise Products Operating, L.P., and Mid-America Pipeline, L.P. Clean Water Act Settlement

(Kansas City, Kansas - August 14, 2009) - A pipeline company and two of its former operating firms will jointly pay a civil penalty of $3.65 million to resolve violations of the Clean Water Act resulting from anhydrous ammonia spills in Nebraska and Kansas, the Justice Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today. The spills which occurred in 2004 resulted in significant fish kills in surrounding waterways.

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Overview of Company and location of Facilities

Magellan Ammonia Pipeline, L.P. (Magellan), is the owner of the ammonia pipeline addressed by this consent decree. Magellan's ammonia pipeline and terminals system delivers ammonia from production facilities in Texas and Oklahoma to various points in the Midwest for use as an agricultural fertilizer. The other two defendants were operators of the pipelines at the time of violations, Enterprise Products Operating, L.P. (Enterprise), and its subsidiary, Mid-American Pipeline Company, L.P. (MAPCO).

This consent decree resolves liability for the release of anhydrous ammonia:

  • 193,213 pounds released on September 27, 2004 near Blair, Nebraska
  • 1,009,023 pounds released on October 27, 2004 near Kingman, Kansas

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Injunctive Relief

In 2007, Magellan terminated its operating agreement with Enterprise and Mid-America and is now both owner and operator of its ammonia pipeline system. As a result, all injunctive relief requirements are solely Magellan's responsibility. The consent decree requires Magellan to set up a program to minimize third-party damage to its pipeline system, and to spend $550,000 to remove or minimize external threats along selected segments of its pipelines.

Activities to mitigate external threats to the pipeline include:

  • Relocating, recovering, lowering or replacing pipeline segments not otherwise specifically required by law
  • The installation of remote shutoff valves on pipeline segments not otherwise specifically required by law that would minimize release volumes
  • The installation of physical barriers not otherwise specifically required by law that protect the pipeline, such as fences or pipeline protective covers such as concrete barriers
  • Installation of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) leak detection instrumentation not otherwise specifically required by law
  • Installation of pipeline markers beyond Department of Transportation Part 195 regulatory requirements, 49 C.F.R. § 195 et. Seq
  • Any other acceptable mitigation efforts that have been pre-approved by EPA

Additionally, as a result of the 2008 consent decree with a related Magellan company, Magellan Pipeline Company, L.P, the company has implemented improvements in employee training, leak response procedures, and protocols for detecting and responding to leaks and ruptures.

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Pollutant Reductions

The pounds of pollutants reduced in this case is 1,202,236 pounds of anhydrous ammonia, which is the entire amount released into the environment from the two incidents.

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Health and Environmental Effects

This settlement will reduce the likelihood of future releases of anhydrous ammonia. Exposure to anhydrous ammonia can cause burning of the eyes, nose, and throat after breathing even small amounts. High level exposure can cause a swollen throat and may result in death due to chemical burns to the lungs. When released into water, ammonia can harm fish, aquatic animals and aquatic plants.

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Civil Penalty

The Consent Decree requires payment by defendants of a penalty of $3,650,000.

  • $3,300,000 penalty for the Section 311 violations payable to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund
  • $250,000 allocated for the Section 103 CERCLA violation payable to the US Treasury

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Comment Period

The proposed settlement, lodged in the U.S. District Court for Kansas, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. Information on submitting comment is available at the Department of Justice website.

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For additional information, contact:

Kelly Kaczka Brantner
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2242A)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.