Ammonia Pipeline Leak Causes Evacuation, One Death in Nebraska

A pipeline rupture that leaked 294,000 gallons of liquid anhydrous ammonia on Monday in Tekamah, Nebraska caused the evacuation of 40 people and the death of one man.

The pipeline owner, Magellan Midstream Partners, noticed a drop in pressure on the line on Monday near 9:00pm and worked to shut off valves on either side of the break. It then isolated the affected section with machinery for further measure.

When the leak occurred, the liquid anhydrous ammonia turned into a toxic gas, as it does when exposed to oxygen, and rose roughly 30 feet into the air like a misty fog.

Families in the 23 nearby homes were forced to evacuate, and one man lost his life after driving into the toxic mist and crashing his vehicle into a ditch.

Magellan stated it is working hard to return the evacuees back to their homes. An air quality test will occur in the area before people are allowed to return, according to a Magellan spokesman.

Official investigations are ongoing as the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board work on an extensive report on the incident.

The eight-inch pipeline owned by Magellan Midstream Partners is one of two anhydrous pipelines in the U.S., according to a Magellan spokesman. The 1,100-mile section that runs through Nebraska was built in the 1960s. The entire line runs from Borger, Texas through Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota.

Lincoln Journal Star