A carbon dioxide pipeline burst in Mississippi. Here’s what happened next.

The Des Moines Register

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

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

A plume of carbon dioxide rolled toward the village of 50 people. Emergency personnel evacuated about 200 residents from there and the surrounding area, 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 deaths.

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

One noteworthy conclusion of the report: It took Denbury about two hours — double the requirement — to notify federal authorities of the rupture, although it knew within minutes of the breach that the pipeline had lost pressure. Local authorities, meanwhile, weren’t aware of the leak’s source for almost half an hour.

Opponents of three proposed carbon-capture pipelines in Iowa point to the Satartia rupture, expressing concern that residents along the Iowa 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 brought about by unique factors. Continue reading