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The ATP Innovator. Image courtesy of InterMoor.

The U.S. Department of Justice ordered Houston-based ATP Infrastructure Partners (ATP-IP) to pay a $1 million penalty and improve its safety and operation procedures to settle alleged unauthorized discharges of oil and chemicals into the Gulf of Mexico.

The DOJ also ordered ATP-IP to “conduct enhanced reporting to address safety and environmental concerns.”

A 2012 inspection by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) of the ATP Innovator platform discovered the alleged discharges.

The agency found that ATP-IP routed an unpermitted chemical dispersant into the platform’s wastewater discharge pipe to cover up excess oil being discharged into the Gulf of Mexico.

The ATP Innovator was operating in the Mississippi Canyon, 45 nautical miles offshore southeastern Louisiana.

Earlier this year, the platform was removed from its deepwater production site and towed to port in Corpus Christi.

Although the Innovator was taken out of operation ATP-IP must still perform the corrective measures outlined in the settlement.

The DOJ ordered the company to remove and seal the connection on the wastewater discharge outfall pipe, permanently closing the access point used to improperly inject dispersants into the pipe.

ATP-IP must also prove to regulators that the platform’s wastewater treatment equipment, operational plans and production safety systems comply with the Clean Water Act and BSEE regulations.

The conditions of the settlement must be met before the ATP Innovator can be used for exploration, development or production activities.

The Clean Water Act and Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act claims against ATP are not part of the settlement with ATP-IP and are still pending before a U.S. district court.