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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 10, 2005

Contact: Erin Phalon
(609) 984-1795

DEP FINES KINDER MORGAN FOR ARTHUR KILL
SODIUM HYDROXIDE SPILL

(05/13) TRENTON -- Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) fined Kinder Morgan Liquid Terminals, LLC of Carteret $355,000 for polluting a state waterway and unauthorized discharging of hazardous substances. The violations stem from an October 30, 2004 sodium hydroxide spill that contaminated the Arthur Kill and surrounding land.

"Our urban waterways and communities are especially vulnerable to toxic spills, and strict enforcement against polluters is critical to protecting them," said Commissioner Campbell. "DEP is holding Kinder Morgan accountable for spilling toxic sodium hydroxide into the state's waterways and onto the streets of one of the state's most densely populated areas."

On October 30, 2004 a steel tank storing sodium hydroxide collapsed and struck an adjacent storage tank. The tank discharged approximately 457,714 gallons of sodium hydroxide into the Arthur Kill and surrounding land and roads. In addition, 74,979 gallons of sodium hydroxide leaked from the adjacent tank but were contained within the facility.

DEP fined Kinder Morgan $320,000 for spilling hazardous substances and $35,000 for discharging pollutants into state waterways.

Sodium hydroxide, which is also known as caustic soda or lye, is a colorless, corrosive liquid widely used in the chemical industry. Contact with sodium hydroxide can cause severe burns to the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes.

DEP investigators determined that area shellfish beds were not impacted by the sodium hydroxide spill.

DEP inspected the site in January 2005 to assess Kinder Morgan's progress since the initial inspection in November 2004. Kinder Morgan currently is investigating the cause of the tank's collapse. The company is dismantling both tanks and portions of the tanks' foundation to determine the cause of the spill.

 

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Last Updated: February 10, 2005