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Colonial Pipeline Company Fined $400,000 for Tennessee Pipeline Rupture

Following a five-year investigation, Colonial Pipeline Company, based in Atlanta, GA, pleaded guilty to the February 1999 rupture of one of its pipelines that spilled an estimated 1,275 barrels of diesel fuel into the Tennessee River. The company was ordered to pay $400,000 in penalties, including a $50,000 fine and $350,000 to be used for environmental education, protection, and incident response. The rupture caused diesel fuel to spew into the air and onto nearby houses before it flowed down a hillside into Goose Creek, then into Fort Loudoun Lake and subsequently the Tennessee River. The investigation was conducted by a task force comprising OIG, the Department of Energy, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, FBI, EPA, and Tennessee River Valley Authority.