Here are up-to-the-minute details about the 2020 Mississippi CO2 pipeline leak


Nearly two years ago, a 24-inch pipeline carrying liquefied carbon dioxide ruptured near the village of Satartia, Mississippi.

The pipeline was built over hilly and rugged terrain. Saturated with rain for two months, the ground around the pipeline slipped, causing a pipe weld to rupture and releasing an explosion of ice and carbon dioxide, according to the federal agency that investigated the accident.

A plume of carbon dioxide rolled towards the village of 50 people. Emergency personnel evacuated about 200 residents from there and surrounding areas, and 45 people sought medical attention, according to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. There were no fatalities.

After:Builders swear CO2 pipelines will be safe. Worried Iowans talk about a rift in Mississippi.

The agency is seeking nearly $4 million in fines related to the rupture of the owner of the Denbury Gulf Coast Pipelines pipeline in Plano, Texas. Among the violations cited, federal investigators said the company “significantly underestimated the affected area that could be impacted by a release.”

A remarkable finding from the report: It took Denbury about two hours – double the requirement – ​​to notify federal authorities of the rupture, although she knew minutes after the rupture that the pipeline had lost pressure. . Local authorities, meanwhile, were unaware of the source of the leak for nearly half an hour.

Opponents of three carbon capture pipeline projects in Iowa point to Satartia’s breakdown, expressing concern that residents along Iowa’s pipeline routes could experience a similar emergency. The developers say their pipelines would exceed federal safety requirements and that the Satartia incident was an anomaly caused by unique factors.

Here’s a timeline of what investigators say happened in Mississippi:

February 22, 2020

7:06 p.m. Under pressure from a landslide, Denbury’s 24-inch pipeline ruptures.

7:07 p.m. The pipeline monitoring and data acquisition control system alerts the company’s control room to a drop in pipeline pressure.

7:14 p.m. The The control room remotely closes three mainline block valves – one at Tinsley station, which is upstream of the rupture site, and two valves at Satartia and Redwood, which are downstream of the rupture.

7:15 p.m. The control room receives confirmation from its computer detection system that the mainline block valves are closed.

7:15 p.m. A Yazoo County Emergency Management Office dispatcher receives an initial report of a “foul smell and green fog on the highway.” Based on this information, emergency personnel responded assuming there was a possible chlorine leak and began contacting local water utility people.

7:17 p.m. A Yazoo County dispatcher gets a call about someone who may be having a seizure.

7:19 p.m. Denbury is sending workers to try to confirm that the mainline block valves have closed successfully and to identify the location of the spill.

7:26 p.m. Mississippi Route 433 is closed by local authorities, who are still working on the assumption that a chlorine leak is occurring.

7:30 p.m. A responder comments that it looks like a gas line has burst. It was around the same time that another responder answered a call from someone in the area who reported hearing a roaring sound. Additional reports from residents lead responders to conclude that the leak is a release of CO2 and hydrogen sulfide from the pipeline, not chlorine from the water system. A plume pattern generated by the National Weather Service correlating local weather data with product type indicates CO2 will travel directly from the release site to Satartia, and an evacuation is ordered.

7:39 p.m. Yazoo County Emergency Management is closing Mississippi Highway 3 to traffic at the intersection with Highway 433, about two-thirds of a mile northwest of the rupture site.

7:43 p.m. Incident Commander Confirms Denbury CO2 Pipeline Ruptured; however, no one can approach the site due to the continuous release of CO2.

7:48 p.m. The Incident Commander contacts Denbury’s Tinsley Station Manager, informing him that the pipeline has ruptured. The Incident Commander informs Denbury of the response actions taken. Denbury informed the Incident Commander that company personnel had been dispatched to verify that the mainline block valves were closed.

7:57 p.m. Yazoo County Emergency Management is blocking Mechanicsburg Road, about two miles southeast of the rupture site.

7:58 p.m. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality contacts the Center for Toxicology & Environmental Health, an environmental consulting firm that assists in emergency response, requesting that technicians be dispatched to the rupture site with emergency equipment. air monitoring.

8:06 p.m. Denbury’s first representative arrives near the rupture site after confirming the closure of the mainline blocks.

8:24 p.m. The Yazoo County emergency dispatcher confirms that a second representative from Denbury has arrived near the rupture site.

9:06 p.m. A Denbury representative from the Plano, Texas office calls the US Environmental Protection Agency’s National Response Center to report the pipeline rupture, saying it released about 222 barrels of liquid carbon dioxide.

9:25 p.m. Representatives from the Center for Toxicology & Environmental Health and Denbury’s environmental contractor, E3 Environmental, arrive at the scene to conduct an air monitoring, beginning at 10:30 p.m.

February 23, 2020

1h49 Incident Command establishes a heated shelter for evacuees at a local college.

8am: Evacuees are allowed to return home. They receive air monitoring services upon request and are encouraged to ventilate their homes by opening doors and windows. The closure of Highway 433 is lifted after heavy machinery clears away mud deposited by the break.

11:34 am Real-time air monitoring ends.

February 24, 2020

6:56 p.m. In a 48-hour update, Denbury told the National Response Center the breach released 21,873 barrels of liquid CO2.

May 26, 2022

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration releases a report on the accident and imposes $3,866,734 in fines on Denbury.

Donnelle Eller covers agriculture, environment and energy for the Register. Contact her at [email protected] or 515-284-8457.

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