Carbon Leak Prompts Federal Focus on Pipeline Safety

(Mississippi Today) – In February of 2020, a breach in a carbon pipeline owned by Denbury, Inc. left 49 people near Satartia, Mississippi hospitalized, and about 300 residents were forced to evacuate.

In May, over two years since the incident, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) released its findings from an investigation. PHMSA found that the pipeline broke from heavy pressure caused by movement in the soil after persisting heavy rain. PHMSA also found that Denbury had, among other errors, failed to prepare for such natural hazards, failed to alert local emergency officials about the incident, and failed to educate nearby residents about the pipeline before the breach.

In the report, the agency proposed a civil penalty of $3.9 million against Denbury, which the company can accept or contest.

PHMSA also indicated it will update standards for emergency preparedness and response, as well as alerting pipeline operators to better anticipate hazards from natural causes.

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