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Magellan Pipeline Company, L.P. Clean Water Act Settlement

(Washington, DC - January 19, 2017) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice today announced a settlement with Magellan Pipeline Company, L.P., for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act related to gasoline, diesel and jet fuel spills in Texas City, Texas, Nemaha, Neb. and El Dorado, Kan. Magellan has agreed to complete approximately $16 million of injunctive relief across its 11,000-mile pipeline system and pay a $2 million civil penalty.


Magellan Pipeline Company, L.P., is a Delaware limited partnership that is headquartered in Tulsa, Okla.  The company owns and operates an approximately 11,000-mile pipeline system that transports liquid petroleum products across 15 states in the central United States.

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According to a complaint and consent decree filed today in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, Tulsa, Okla.-based Magellan is responsible for spilling a combined total of approximately 5,177 barrels of petroleum products in three separate incidents. The complaint alleges that Magellan was responsible for the following illegal discharges:

  • On Feb. 24, 2011, a Magellan owned 18-inch refined petroleum products pipeline ruptured in an area north of Texas City, Texas, and spilled approximately 482 barrels of gasoline.  The spill impacted a local watercourse known as Pierre Bayou. 
  • On Dec. 10, 2011, two of Magellan’s refined petroleum products pipelines were struck by a third-party who was operating heavy machinery while attempting to clear a hedgerow in an agricultural field near the town of Nemaha, Neb.  The strikes resulted in the spilling of approximately 650 barrels of diesel fuel from one line, and approximately 655 barrels of jet fuel and 1,529 barrels of gasoline from the other.  The spills impacted a local watercourse know as Jarvis Creek.  Cleanup efforts are still underway and will be completed as part of the proposed consent decree.
  • On May 4, 2015, a Magellan owned 10-inch refined petroleum products pipeline ruptured near the City of El Doroado, Kan., and spilled approximately 1,861 barrels of diesel fuel.  Diesel fuel form that spill impacted a local watercourse known as Constant Creek.

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Injunctive Relief

The consent decree requires Magellan to complete approximately $16 million of injunctive relief across its 11,000-mile pipeline system, including: (1) completing an ongoing spill cleanup effort in Nebraska; (2) instituting an enhanced annual training program for its third-party damage prevention staff; (3) updating and enhancing company information resources concerning selective seam corrosion; (4) updating its integrity management plan; and (5) creating a publicly-accessible web page that will report information about certain types of pipeline releases and Magellan’s responses to them.

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Pollutant Impacts

Due to the fact that the injunctive relief contained in the settlement is preventative in nature, it is not possible to estimate a specific total pollutant reduction associated with this consent decree. 

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Health Effects and Environmental Benefits

The injunctive relief required by the settlement to improve the safety of Magellan’s practices and to enhance its oil spill preparedness and response are designed both to prevent the likelihood of a future oil spill, and to minimize the adverse effects of a spill if it should happen. Oil spills are known to cause both immediate and long-term harm to human health and ecosystems. Oil limits oxygen in water and can suffocate wildlife.

Oil emulsions may stick to the gills of fish or coat and destroy algae or other plankton. Floating oil may reduce water exposure to the circulation of oxygen and, in conjunction with emulsified oil, interfere with photosynthesis. Oil slicks can kill birds, contaminate food sources, reduce animal and plant reproduction and contaminate nesting habitats. Oil spills can cause long-term effects years later even if the oil remains in the environment for a relatively short period of time. Petroleum oils can also undergo oxidation and polymerization reactions and can form tars that persist in the environment for years.

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Civil Penalty

Magellan will pay a $2 million civil penalty.

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Comment Period

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

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For more information, contact:

Bryant Smalley
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 6
1445 Ross Ave.
Suite 1200
Dallas, TX 75202-2733

 Mark Aaron
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 7
11201 Renner Blvd.
Lenexa, KS 66219

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