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Iowa Pipeline Leaks 138K Gallons of Diesel

Monday, January 30, 2017

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A pipeline in north central Iowa ruptured Wednesday (Jan. 25), releasing an estimated 138,000 gallons of diesel fuel into the immediate environment.

The 12-inch underground pipeline, owned by Magellan Midstream Partners L.P., began leaking Wednesday morning, with the rupture reported around 8:00 a.m., according to the Des Moines Register. Magellan representatives have said that nothing struck the pipeline to cause the burst, and the reason for the incident is under investigation.

The Register reports that the leak is the largest in Iowa in at least 15 years.

“It’s a big one—it’s significant,” Jeff Vansteenburg, of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, told the newspaper.

Pipeline Shut Down

Magellan sent crews to clean up the spill, which it said was contained, and did not affect nearby sources of water. The company said more than 70 responders, including Magellan staff, emergency crews and cleanup contractors, were present on the site.

Magellan assets
Magellan Midstream Partners

Magellan's assets include crude oil terminals and pipelines (purple), ammonia pipelines and terminals (yellow) and refined product pipelines and terminals (green), as well as marine terminals (blue).

The area where the release occurred was reportedly on farmland.

Early Friday (Jan. 27), Magellan reported that the pipeline was still shut down, and there was no estimate as to how long repairs would take.

The same company just weeks ago reached an agreement with the federal government in relation to several past spills on its pipelines in the Midwest and Great Plains states.

Magellan Settlement, Corrosion Issues

On Jan. 19, Magellan Pipeline settled with the U.S. Department of Justice over a series of pipeline releases in recent years in Texas, Nebraska and Kansas. The settlement will include $16 million in updates to the company’s 11,000 miles of pipelines, and a $2 million civil penalty. Magellan Pipeline is a wholly owned subsidiary of Magellan Midstream Partners.

The most recent spill covered in the settlement, which occurred May 4, 2015, in El Dorado, Kansas, resulted in a release of 1,861 barrels of diesel fuel, and was reportedly a result of selective seam corrosion.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said in a Corrective Action Order in response to that incident that the same pipeline had experienced three releases since 2005. The largest, on May 23, 2005, released 2,936 barrels of gasoline in Kansas City, Kansas, and was caused by external corrosion.


Tagged categories: Corrosion; North America; Oil and Gas; Pipeline; Quality Control

Comment from Andrew Piedl, (2/3/2017, 11:53 AM)

Another day, another leak.

Comment from Catherine Brooks of Eco-Strip, (2/3/2017, 2:39 PM)

How many spills of thousands of gallons need the public experience before we say no to more pipelines? This spill was 50 times greater than the largest in KS in 2005. If $18 million was only PART of the DOJ settlement, imagine the revenue the Pipeline Partners pull in annually with their existing 11,000 miles of pipeline? What if this money were redirected to safe alternative energy sources like solar?

Comment from M. Halliwell, (2/6/2017, 11:06 AM)

Considering the age of the infrastructure and how few (overall and per gallon/barrel) leaks there have been, I think we've been lucky. Train, truck and tanker ship have worse safety records. It would help if the infrastructure (much of which is near, at or past designed life) were replaced, but considering the protests and bureaucracy, as well as the lack of motivation on the part of the owners, I don't see it happening soon. Catherine, as much as I'd love to be able to say that solar, wind or something else could be a real alternative anytime soon, we're not "there" yet. You could throw the entire GDP at it for several years and not make real progress in getting the US off fossil fuels. Getting full-scale molten salt thorium reactors past the "that's nice" stage would probably be one of the best things we could do in the short term, but because it is a form of nuclear power (though much, much safer and with far, far, far less waste) you'll be decades to get an approval if you can get past the protesters and NIMBY crowd.

Comment from Gregory Stoner, (2/16/2017, 10:24 AM)

Is there no carrot and stick senareo that would work to encourage better/safer ownership of these pipelines?

Comment from M. Halliwell, (2/17/2017, 11:42 AM)

Unfortunately not, Gregory....many of these companies have been around far, far longer than the watchdog agencies that are supposed to keep eyes on them. Add in the nightmare that is government bureaucracy and, well, it's really difficult to get a carrot or a stick, little on to use them.

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