Since their introduction in the 1920s, alkanolamines (or amines) have been used in many industrial processes, consumer products, and in natural gas processing to remove hydrogen sulfide. Amines are used in 95 percent of gas “sweetening” operations in the United States. The widespread use of these compounds at processing plants has resulted in accidental releases to the environment from leaks and spills of both used and unused amines.

The Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) has a guidance document (RRC, 2011) that addresses spills and on-site management of wastes containing alkanolamines but there are no reporting requirements specified, and the State of New Mexico does not have any guidance related to amines. Therefore, we developed a novel risk-based approach that is protective of human health and the environment to provide a standardized method for evaluating a release of amines in Texas and New Mexico and a framework for reporting and remediation, if necessary. Environmental fate and transport properties were considered and several toxicity values were used to develop a flexible and strategic approach to site management of amines following a release or spill.

Primary Author/Conference Presenter:
Kirby Tyndall
Sr. Consulting Toxicologist
Pastor, Behling & Wheeler, LLC
Round Rock, Texas

Brian Thomas, Pastor, Behling & Wheeler, LLC, Texarkana, Texas