Investigators say corrosion caused deadly 2016 pipeline leak

Photo: MGN
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TEKAMAH, Neb. (AP) — Federal investigators say corrosion caused a deadly leak in an anhydrous ammonia pipeline in 2016 in northeast Nebraska.

The National Transportation Safety Board says in a report released last week that a series of small fatigue cracks caused by corrosion merged to create the leak in the pipeline operated by Magellan Midstream Partners. The leak killed 59-year-old Phillip Henning who drove into a toxic cloud created by the fertilizer, and it forced the evacuation of 23 rural homes north of Tekamah in October 2016.

The report said Magellan identified and repaired other pending failures in the pipeline after the cause of the leak was identified.

The Oklahoma-based pipeline operator announced plans last year to decommission the 1,100-mile anhydrous ammonia pipeline that runs from Texas to the upper Midwest. It is in the process of shutting down the pipeline. It had decommissioned about 588 miles of pipeline by the end of 2019.

Magellan spokesman Bruce Heine said the company is still reviewing the NTSB report.