Government CO2 Pipeline rupture report not released until two years later

Independent report issues warnings
Experts continue to wait for the official government report on the leak in Mississippi two years after the fact. The report could affect new pipelines.
Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 3:23 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -As landowners in the midwest consider easement offers from a liquid carbon dioxide pipeline company, reports from a new independent study are providing more details about one of the worst CO2 pipeline leaks in our country.

Meanwhile, experts continue to wait for the official government report on the leak in Mississippi two years after the fact. The report could greatly affect the plans for both Summit Carbon Solutions and Navigator’s CO2 Heartland Greenway pipelines, here in South Dakota.

“My heart does go out to the people of South Dakota that are being asked to bear this unknown risk in their backyards,” said Bill Caram with Pipeline Safety Trust.

There’s not too much that representatives of both Summit Carbon Solutions and the Pipeline trust company agree on, but they do agree about what kind of CO2 comes from ethanol plants.

Chris Hill represents Summit Carbon Solutions and said “A CO2 stream from ethanol plants is a high purity.”

“Yes, it’s true that from ethanol plants the CO2 tends to be pure,” says Caram. “But the CO2 on its own is still plenty dangerous as an asphyxiant that is hard to disburse.”

While many wait for a report from pipeline hazardous material and safety administration on the Satartia Mississippi leak in February 2020, The Pipeline safety trust has hired an engineer to assess the leak and publish the findings. Rick Kuprewicz, President of Accufacts released the report on March 30.

The report offers suggestions, which we presented to a representative with Summit Carbon Solutions.

“Adding some kind of odorant so that people will know that there is something this dangerous is fixing in the air displacing the oxygen would be incredibly beneficial,” said Caram.

“One of the things that we consider is the potential to add odorants,” said Hill.

The report also suggests more regulations on what could be in the pipe in addition to CO2. Pipeline Safety trust claims there are no specific standards set for the impurities that could be found. Introducing water to liquid CO2 becomes highly corrosive. More control valves along the pipeline are also suggested.

“It’ll reach that valve or arrestor and it’ll just stop and it can limit the distance of that fracture,” said Caram.

The report by Pipeline Safety Trust, a non-profit organization, is the topic of discussion for many in the industry. The hope is that the Government’s report will be released soon so that others can understand what happened, and how or if they want to move forward.

“There are incidences that have occurred. We are always looking to learn from those incidents,” said Hill of Summit Carbon Solutions. “And we have and we’re going to do everything in our power to ensure that the CO2 stays in the pipe. And we’re confident we can do that.”

A group of landowners in South Dakota have joined to hire an attorney to keep the pipeline off their land and stand against what they believe to be possible eminent domain by a for-profit company.

While the Pipeline Hazardous Material and Safety Administration indicated that the report would be out last October, it still has not been released. We’ve e-mailed and called four times over the last month asking when the report would be ready and have not received a response.

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