Welcome to the Department of Justice, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller

For immediate release - Tuesday, October 1, 2002.

Contact Bob Brammer - 515-281-6699

Williams Pipe Line Paying $300,000 Penalty for Air Pollution Violations
at Waterloo Gasoline Terminal

Attorney General Tom Miller said today that Williams Pipe Line Company has been ordered to pay a $300,000 civil penalty, resolving a lawsuit filed by Miller's Office that alleged air pollution emission and control violations at Williams' bulk gasoline terminal in Waterloo, Iowa.

Judge George Stigler entered a consent order late yesterday in Black Hawk County District Court resolving the lawsuit filed in August by Miller's Environmental Law Division. For purposes of settlement, Williams admitted most of the violations alleged by the State. The lawsuit alleged that excessive dangerous gas fumes were emitted for several years at loading racks of the terminal, exceeding levels permitted by state and federal regulations.

Miller said that Williams cooperated with the state and moved quickly to remedy the matter. "Williams spent over $3.8 million to fix the air pollution problem," he said. "They installed new loading racks and vapor control systems that reduce emissions to just 1% of their former level."

Williams brings gasoline to the Waterloo terminal by pipeline, stores the fuel in large tanks, and transfers fuel to tanker trucks for distribution to gas stations and other outlets. The terminal has a permit to handle up to 260 million gallons of fuel per year.

The lawsuit filed August 7 by Miller's Office on behalf of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources alleged numerous air pollution control violations and excess emissions of "volatile organic compounds" and hazardous air pollutants such as benzene and toluene.

"The situation was akin to vapors being released when you fill your car with gas, except this terminal handles hundreds of millions of gallons of gasoline," Miller said. "We are very pleased that Williams promptly stepped forward to fix the situation."

The suit alleged excessive gasoline fumes were emitted because the terminal used "splash loading" rather than "submerged loading" techniques. In submerged loading, the fill pipe is inserted almost to the bottom of the gasoline cargo tank, which reduces turbulence and vapors as gas is loaded. Submerged loading cuts air pollution emissions by 40% compared to splash loading, where the fill pipe is not submerged. The suit alleged that Williams failed to equip the terminal with a vapor collection system required by regulations for a facility with the volume handled at Waterloo.

Judge Stigler's order noted that Williams has installed a new controlled loading dock with vapor collection and processing systems, installed secondary seals for four gasoline storage tanks with a capacity of over 7 million gallons, and made other improvements not required by law. The total cost of the improvements was $3,816,620.

Gasoline vapor emissions contain volatile organic compounds such as benzene and toluene. A small portion of the compounds are considered to be dangerous. In 2001, about 534 tons of volatile organic compounds were emitted into the air from the loading rack at the Williams terminal in Waterloo. With the new equipment, the emissions are expected to be only about 5 tons per year.

Williams Pipe Line Company, LLC, is a petroleum distribution company based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Waterloo terminal is located on US Highway 63 south of downtown Waterloo.

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