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Houston Pipeline Company Fined $2.8 Million for Dumping Oil, Gas into Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma Waterways


WASHINGTON—Two Houston-based oil and gas distributors, TE Products Pipeline Co. LLC and TEPPCO Crude Pipeline, LLC (collectively TEPPCO), will pay a civil penalty of approximately $2.8 million for discharging approximately 6,470 barrels of jet fuel, gasoline and crude oil into multiple waterways in Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma between November 2001 and May 2005, the Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency announced today.

“TEPPCO will pay a civil penalty and has agreed to make important upgrades to its pipeline systems which will improve overall safety,” said John Cruden, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environmental and Natural Resources Division. “The Justice Department is pleased to have reached a favorable resolution and we will continue to investigate and take action against those who fail to comply with environmental laws.”

“TEPPCO agreed to make pipeline improvements that will increase the safety of its operations and help protect our nation’s waters,” said Granta Nakayama, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Water is essential to life, and industries must take every precaution to ensure their operations do not harm this vital natural resource.”

According to a complaint filed simultaneously and resolved by a consent decree filed today, TEPPCO was responsible for the following illegal discharges:

-approximately 2,575 barrels of Jet A Kerosene, or jet fuel, into the Neches River and its tributaries near Vidor, Texas, on Nov. 27, 2001;

-approximately 500 barrels 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, Ark., on March 12, 2004;

-approximately 2,497 barrels 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;

-approximately 898 barrels 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, Okla.

Under the terms of the consent decree, TEPPCO will pay a total of $2,865,000 and complete approximately $2.6 million of upgrades and continued monitoring including:

-performing a close internal survey of the segment of the pipeline system from Beaumont, Texas, to Many, La.., and if necessary bringing the pipeline into compliance with the law;

-installing remote surveillance cameras at the Newton, Texas, and Many, La. 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, Ark.;

-updating its Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system on the pipeline by installing leak detection based on a model software system. The objective of the update is to enable TEPPCO to more precisely monitor and balance the oil volume, pressure and temperature in the pipeline, which can be indicators of leaks or spills;

-submit various reports to EPA on the status and completion of today’s settlement requirements;

The complaint and consent decree were filed today in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas located in Beaumont.

The consent decree lodged today is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court. A copy of the consent decree will be available on the Justice Department Web site at


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