Wednesday, November 4, 2009

DOT proposes $466,200 fine for Enterprise in Kansas pipeline failure

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Transportation on Oct. 28 proposed to fine Enterprise Products Operating, LLC $466,200 for alleged violations of federal pipeline safety regulations. The proposed fine follows the
Department's investigation into the Enterprise Products Partners September
2007 failure near Englewood, Kansas.
"Today's action reinforces a message the Department has communicated for years to owners and operators of pipeline systems and other freight and commodity transporters - Safety First," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
The proposed fine and finding of probable violation are the result of an accident investigation recently completed by the Department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). During the investigation, PHMSA investigators discovered possible failures by Enterprise to ensure pipeline workers were adequately trained to perform necessary system repairs as required by federal operator qualification regulations. Proper implementation of operator qualification programs by pipeline companies is vital to preventing system failures, injury to people, property damage, and other serious consequences. Other probable violations include failures to conduct required drug testing of maintenance personnel following the accident.
On Sept. 11, 2007, PHMSA inspectors responded to an Enterprise Products pipeline rupture and release of approximately 14,700 barrels of natural gas liquid. Post-accident failure analysis determined the failure was due to the improper installation of pipeline system components following recently conducted maintenance activities.
Although the release did not result in any deaths or injuries to the public, the event closed State Highway 283 for five days, seriously affecting daily commuters as crews worked to secure and clean-up spilled product.

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