Useful Information Sources
(see below for safety-related news articles)
This chart of Recommended Minimum Evacuation Distances for Natural Gas Pipeline Leaks and Ruptures, from the Pipeline Association for Public Awareness, shows that the evacuation distance is huge for a 42 inch pipeline at 1200-1400 psi.
A YouTube graphic illustrates America’s Dangerous Pipelines, 1986-2014.
Understanding Natural Gas Pipeline Infrastructure and Impacts, by Dave Messersmith and the Marcellus Education Team, Pen State Extension. A wealth of information, with great before and after pictures. Shows how to calculate PIR (Potential Impact Radius, the radius of a circle within which a worst case failure of a gas transmission pipeline could have significant and instantaneous impact on people or property) using diameter and PSI of pipeline (Dominion’s is the highest PIR on the chart. Also gives definition for the Class structure Dominion was using–based on number of dwellings in a prescribed area. The more rural the less stringent the safety requirements. Talks about pipeline impacts on “view sheds.” Will Dominion reimburse us for “view shed” impacts?
New Pipeline Safety Advisories from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous materials Safety Administration. PHMSA safety goals include these, “By 2016, we aim to: Reduce the number of pipeline incidents involving death or major injury to between 26-37 per year. Reduce the number of hazardous materials incidents with environmental damage to between 44-64 per year.
The Pipeline Safety Trust “promotes pipeline safety through education and advocacy, increased access to information, and partnerships with residents, safety advocates, government, and industry, resulting in safer communities and a healthier environment.” Their Web site includes a great deal of information on pipeline safety, including a “Local Government Guide to Pipelines” and an ongoing listing of breaking news related to pipeline safety.
Safety-Related News Articles
2/6/2015 Inside Climate News: Yellowstone Oil Spills Expose Threat to Pipelines Under Rivers Nationwide. At the time the Poplar pipeline ruptured, about 110 feet of it was completely uncovered along the bottom of the Yellowstone River, exposing it to damage.
1/27/2015 MSNBC: Another day, another pipeline explosion. Rachel Maddow reports on the natural gas pipeline in Brooke County, West Virginia that exploded in a huge fireball, the fifth pipeline accident in the U.S. so far in January 2015.
12-20-14 No Fracking Way: The Blast Radius: What Does it Mean For Your Neighborhood? Here’s an article indicating what we have believed to be accurate information about explosion zones, isn’t really so accurate. It seems high hazard areas are actually 45% to 50% larger than previously reported. Take a look and see what it means for your neighborhood. You don’t have to be a landowner where the pipe might be laid, you could be a neighbor and face devastating consequences.
10-2-14 Cleveland.com: Federal, local emergency crews evacuating Stark County [OH] campgrounds after oil and gas leak. The pipeline is owned by Dominion East Ohio. Dominion says that their proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline would carry only “dry, pipeline-quality natural gas” but they are not willing to guarantee that. Follow-up article from Newsnet5.com: Evacuation over, gas leak cleared at Springwood Lake Campgrounds. “The hole in the line was about the size of a nickel…. The oil coming from the ground is simply a byproduct of years of gas transportation. The leak is very small, Dominion officials said.”
9-24-14: Desert Sun: As deaths mount, pipeline safety comes into focus.
9-23-14 Marcellus Drilling News: Mariner East Pipeline Drilling Spills Mud in Local Creek. While drilling under a creek in PA, the drill bit hit “something solid” [like a rock?] that stopped the drill and caused “drilling mud, often called bentonite,” to leak into the creek as a grey sludge that traveled downstream. (Drilling mud is used to lubricate the drill.) “While non-toxic, a whole lot of bentonite in the water can, of course, suffocate fish and cause problems for wildlife that happen to drink it.” Why is this important? Dominion would be drilling under many, many creeks and streams in our area – all of which are Chesapeake Bay tributaries.
9-23-14 USA Today: Look out below: Danger lurks underground from aging gas pipes: Even small cracks or accidents can trigger a destructive explosion. Scroll down after clicking on the link and enter your zip code to see every gas pipeline incident, death, and injury in Virginia and beyond. Click on the little circles on the map to get a description.
9-18-14 WDRB.com [Louisville KY]: Analysis: Existing cracks a cause in Kentucky pipeline blast. “The Adair County natural gas pipeline that ruptured earlier this year, triggering a massive explosion that leveled nearby homes, had ‘pre-existing’ cracks in a weld where the pipe broke, an analysis found.”
9-17-14 WAVE3 News [Kentucky]: 3 LG&E subcontractors injured in gas main explosion on U.S. 42 (Oldham County KY)
9-16-14 WSBT-TV [Michigan]: Evacuation order over after pipeline rupture in Berrien County [Michigan]. A local farmer “says Trans Canada, the company that owns the pipeline, has advised him that his three acres of potatoes around the explosion may be contaminated and should not be harvested…. A representative from Trans Canada says the line that broke was a large main, 24 to 30 inches in diameter…. The company does not know what caused the rupture”
9-9-14 Newsplex: Major Gas Leak in Free Union Forced 61 Homes to Evacuate. “They said that there is some type of corrosive action on the pipes and there is a risk down the road of a rupture of some sort”
9-8-14 Washington Post: The dangers lurking below the proposed Virginia pipeline. Letter to the Editor.
8-25-14 NBC News report: Danger Beneath: ‘Fracking’ Gas, Oil Pipes Threaten Rural Residents. “A construction boom of pipelines carrying explosive oil and natural gas from “fracking” fields to market — pipes that are bigger and more dangerous than their predecessors — poses a safety threat in rural areas, where they sometimes run within feet or yards of homes with little or no safety oversight, an NBC News investigation has found.”
8-15-14 Waynesboro News Virginian: Dominion details inspections, monitoring of pipeline. This article identifies Frank Mack as the manager of Dominion Transmission Communications and attributes the following words to him: “Though no operator can assure or guarantee safety…” Not comforting words if one’s property is proposed to be in the path of a proposed high pressure 42 inch gas transmission pipeline.
8-8-14 Wyoming Public Media (NPR): As Pipelines Multiply, Pigs Are Paramount. How the pipeline tool known as a “pig” is used to test pipelines and find problems. However, “with 2.6 million miles of pipelines in the ground and a combined total of just about 500 state and federal inspectors, safety advocates … worry problems might be slipping through the cracks — especially as companies race to build new pipelines.”
2-22-14 NPR News: News report on February 2014 pipeline explosion in KY discusses the inspection process for pipelines.
West Virginia’s Natrium gas-processing plant reopened in January 2014 after being closed for repairs following a September 2013 explosion and fire. The plant, on the Ohio River in Natrium WV, is part of $1.5 billion transportation-and-processing venture between Dominion Resources and Caiman Energy II LLC.
12-5-13 Akron.com [Ohio]: PUCO, Dominion continuing investigation of pipeline incident. “The break in the line created a 10-foot-diameter crater, and gas was found dissipating straight up into the air, but there was no fire.” Sounds scary – but… “a spokesman for Dominion, said, “The event was not a reportable incident as defined by PUCO regulations. According to PUCO, incidents are classified as ‘reportable’ based on property damage/injury incurred as [a] result of [an] incident, which did not apply in this incident.” How many “non-reportable” incidents occur that are not included in safety statistics?
Lessons Learned: Pipeline Emergency Response at 2008 Appomattox (VA) Natural Gas Explosion. Published in FireEngineering, 3/22/2013.
12-12-12 Ohio Public Utilities Commission Press Release: PUCO fines Dominion East Ohio $500,000 following investigation of Fairport Harbor incident. “The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) today approved an Order that requires Dominion East Ohio to pay a fine of $500,000 and to take steps to ensure compliance with federal natural gas pipeline safety standards. The penalties are based upon the PUCO staff’s investigation of a January 2011 series of fires in Fairport Harbor, Ohio in which 11 homes were severely damaged and 150 homes required appliance repair or replacement, causing an estimated $1.3 million in property damage.”
12-11-12 Huffington Post: Sissonville West Virginia: Explosion from gas line burns Interstate 77 and homes. Four homes went up in flames and collapsed in charred heaps Tuesday after a natural gas line exploded in an inferno that raged for at least an hour, melting guardrails and pavement on a swath of Interstate 77.
11-15-12 ProPublica: Pipeline Safety Tracker: Find the Accidents Near You (updated through 2012)
Pipeline Emergency Planning and Response Tools – Emergency responders must prepare ahead of time for effective response to pipeline ruptures. Published in FirefighterNation 12/31/2011 from the January 2012 issue of FireRescue.
2010 San Bruno CA pipeline explosion (article from Wikipedia).
Live local news coverage by CBS News of the huge gas-line explosion in a residential neighborhood in San Bruno, California. Thursday, September, 9, 2010, 7:08PM. This is “clean burning gas” in a 30″ pipe, 90 minutes before PG&E turned off the flow.
2008 Pipeline Explosion in Appomattox VA: Photos here. The explosion occurred Sept 14th, 2008 near Appomattox Virginia on a natural gas transmission line owned by Williams Energy. Five persons were injured and over one hundred homes, including the ones in the photo were damaged or destroyed. No deaths resulted from this explosion and that is amazing. Source: EnergyindustryPhotos.com