July 8, 2008

$400,000 Fine Advised For 2007 Rupture Of Ammonia Pipeline

By Josh Poltilove, Tampa Tribune, Fla.

Jul. 8--TAMPA -- The corporation that owns an ammonia pipeline that ruptured last year in Riverview didn't respond properly to the situation and should pay nearly $400,000 in fines, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

The corporation has filed an appeal and has until about Aug. 1 to get into compliance, its manager said.

In November, the ruptured ammonia pipeline forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents and shut down a section of U.S. 301 for days.

Tampa Pipeline Corp. owns and maintains the pipeline. In a May 7 proposed civil penalty and proposed compliance order, the federal agency slammed Tampa Pipeline and called for changes.

A representative of the federal agency inspected corporation records between July 30 and Aug. 2 and attended a November meeting about the pipeline leak.

The order from Michael J. Khayata, acting director of the federal agency's southern region, lists 12 probable violations.

Actions taken by the corporation following the Nov. 12 pipe rupture show "inadequate procedures are in place" and that communication is lacking between the corporation and Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, according to the order. The corporation "also lacked adequate emergency response preplanning and coordination."

Tampa Pipeline Corp. President Robert Rose said he disagreed with the order's findings. He said his corporation already has worked to reinforce the pipeline and that it has reimbursed people inconvenienced by the leak.

News Channel 8 reporter Josh Thomas contributed to this report. Reporter Josh Poltilove can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 259-7691.


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