Kinder Morgan fined $600,000 for tainted fuel
Kinder Morgan Transmix Co. has agreed to pay the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) $600,000 to resolve numerous violations of federal air and hazardous waste regulations, including mixing hazardous waste with gasoline.
EPA cited the company for multiple violations of the federal Clean Air Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The violations included failure to conduct an adequate waste analysis of the spent solvent and storing the material without an appropriate permit. The company also failed to collect and analyze samples of gasoline produced at its Hartford, Illinois facility.
EPA discovered the violations in 2004 after following up on complaints from motorists about stalled vehicles. Hundreds of reports indicated that cars using gasoline produced at Kinder Morgan’s Indianola, Pennsylvania facility had stalled due to clogged fuel filters. During the investigation, EPA discovered the facility was blending gasoline with spent cyclohexane solvent, which is classified as a hazardous waste.
In addition to the hazardous waste violations, the company failed to meet the standards of the federal Clean Air Act. These standards require that all gasoline sold in the United States meet certain criteria ensuring it will not contribute to emission control system failures resulting in potential increased emissions.
Blending facilities mix gasoline with other components to produce finished gasoline. Gasoline is required by law to meet stringent environmental standards before it can be distributed.
The settlement also includes two related Kinder Morgan gasoline facilities located in Colton, California and Richmond, Virginia. The Richmond facility is required to pay an additional penalty of $13,000 for failing to properly sample and analyze gasoline, as required by the Clean Air Act.
The settlement requires that the three companies improve quality control procedures at each of their five gasoline blending facilities. They must hire an independent firm to conduct compliance evaluations of the environmental practices and must take corrective action to address any problems identified by the auditors.