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TEPPCO agrees to over $2.8 million settlement for clean water violations

Release Date: 08/16/2007
Contact Information: Dave Bary or Tressa Tillman at 214-665-2200 or r6press@epa.gov

Oil and gas distributor also to make pipeline improvements under agreement with EPA

(Dallas, Texas – August 16, 2007) TE Products Pipeline Company, LLC and TEPPCO Crude Pipeline, LLC (collectively “TEPPCO”) will pay a $2.865 million penalty to resolve violations of the Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency announced today.

In addition, the Houston-based oil and gas distributor will be required to make modifications to its pipeline operations that involve performing corrosion control surveys, installing surveillance cameras, and updating its computer system to better detect leaks and spills.

“It is imperative that business and industry do their part to minimize the risks of oil and fuel spills,” said EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene. “Keeping our waters clean must be a priority and must be viewed as a fundamental responsibility. EPA and our state partners will continue to ensure that companies make conscientious efforts to follow environmental laws.”

TEPPCO discharged approximately 6,470 barrels (271,740 gallons) of jet fuel, gasoline and crude oil on four different occasions into waters of the United States between November 2001 and May 2005 at locations in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The following describes each discharge:
* a release of approximately 2,575 barrels (108,150 gallons) of Jet A Kerosene, or jet fuel, into the Neches River and its tributaries near Vidor, Texas, on Nov. 27, 2001. This spill resulted from disbonded coating and external corrosion on the pipeline.
* a release of approximately 500 barrels (21,000 gallons) of unleaded gasoline into an unnamed tributary of the Moro Creek, which flows into the Ouachita River, near the Fordyce Pump Station in Cleveland County, Arkansas, on March 12, 2004. This spill resulted from corrosion of a -inch bleeder line that was part of a pipeline block valve used to equalize pressure across the valve.
* a release of approximately 2,497 barrels (104,874 gallons) of Jet A Kerosene, a portion of which escaped containment and reached Big Cow Creek, a tributary of the Sabine River, near Newton, Texas, on Feb. 28, 2005. This spill was caused by an operator error that involved the over-tightening of a coupling at a cooling line at the top of a mainline pump.
* a release of approximately 898 barrels (37,716 gallons) of crude oil on May 13, 2005, into Eastman Creek, which is a tributary of the Red River, and an unnamed tributary of Eastman Creek near Colbert, Oklahoma. This spill was caused by a longitudinal seam split on a pipeline that resulted from a stress crack that may have been induced by conditions occurring during rail transport and enlarged by pressure-cycle-induced stresses over the years of the pipe’s operation.

Under the terms of the consent decree, TEPPCO will pay a total of $2,865,000 and be required to:
* perform a close internal survey of the segment of the pipeline system from Beaumont, Texas, to Many, Louisiana. The Vidor spill occurred on this segment. For each nonconforming location, corrective action must be taken to bring the cathodic protection into compliance.
* install remote surveillance cameras at the Newton, Texas, and Many, Louisiana, pump stations. The cameras will provide around-the-clock site surveillance of pump stations by the Houston Pipeline Control Center and the field operation centers located in Beaumont, Texas, and El Dorado, Arkansas.
* update its Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system on the pipeline by installing leak detection functionality based on a computational pipeline model software system. The objective of the update is to enable TEPPCO to more precisely monitor and balance the volume of product in the pipeline with the integration of pressure and temperature data to monitor pipeline pressure deviations, which can be indicators of leaks or spills from the pipeline.
* submit various reports to EPA on the status and completion of the injunctive relief requirements.

The complaint and agreement for the TEPPCO violations were filed in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont, Texas.

To learn more about enforcement activities in EPA Region 6, please visit www.epa.gov/region6.

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