Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet
Complaint filed against pipeline company for oil spill that fouled Kentucky and Ohio rivers
FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 7, 2005) – The Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet (EPPC) has filed an administrative complaint against Mid-Valley Pipeline Co. over a pipeline rupture that sent 262,542 gallons of crude oil into the Kentucky and Ohio rivers in January.
The oil release, which occurred near Perry Park in Owen County on Jan. 26, 2005, fouled about 17 miles of the Kentucky River and 30 miles of the Ohio River. The plume of oil threatened drinking water supplies in Louisville, requiring extra water treatment.
The volume of oil released was second only to the loss of 489,000 gallons in a Marathon Ashland pipeline rupture in Clark County in January 2000. However, that accident was much more contained, occurring mainly on a golf course and affecting about one mile of a small creek.
Mid-Valley Pipeline, which is a subsidiary of Sunoco Logistics and has its principal office in Philadelphia, initially estimated the release of oil at 60,000 gallons. The estimate was soon raised to 83,000 gallons and eventually to 262,542 gallons.
The complaint, filed Monday with the EPPC Office of Administrative Hearings, reiterates violations that were spelled out in a notice to the company in February from EPPC’s Department for Environmental Protection. It alleges violation of a statute and two regulations prohibiting degradation of Kentucky surface waters, general pollution of surface waters and discharges of materials toxic to humans and aquatic life.
It also alleges that the company violated a statute and regulation requiring parties responsible for a reportable spill to immediately notify the EPPC.
The complaint seeks a civil penalty not to exceed $25,000 per violation for each day of violation. It also seeks completion of remedial measures and reimbursement of costs incurred by EPPC in responding to the environmental emergency. Those costs total $111,422 to date.
The Mid-Valley Pipeline accident, coming on the heels of an explosion of a natural gas transmission line in Floyd County, led Governor Ernie Fletcher to appoint the Kentucky Pipeline Safety Advisory Committee. It is scheduled to meet June 16.