Spectra Busted for Neglecting Pipeline Maintenance

Categories: Explosions

SanBrunoExplosion.jpg
NTSB
The kind of devastating explosion that rocked San Bruno in 2010 could never happen here in New York, because our pipeline overlords are just too conscientious.
As we wrote in this week's paper, Texas-based gas giant Spectra Energy is building a high-gauge, high-pressure natural gas transmission pipeline right into the heart of the West Village.

That makes some people nervous, because pipelines like this seem to explode all the time, and when they do it can be sort of calamitous. But Spectra says not to worry, because

"Spectra Energy is extremely vigilant and proactive with its integrity management programs as required by the US Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)- implementing rigorous safety measures across our entire system."

Okay. Sounds good. Everybody relax already! Jesus. The people building and running this thing are extremely vigilant and follow all the required safety precautions laid out by the US Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

Now, in completely unrelated news: Earlier this month the US Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) fined Spectra subsidiary Texas Eastern Transmission, (one of the companies behind the New Jersey New York Expansion Project) $95,500, citing it for three different failures to adhere to basic safety standards on one of its existing Pennsylvania pipelines.

The "Probable Violations:"

  • Despite being required to check pipes for corrosion at least once a calendar year, inspectors found lengths of pipe that hadn't been inspected since 2007. "TETCO admitted to its failure to inspect for atmospheric corrosion on the piping under the acoustic insulation."
  • "TETCO failed to partially operate eleven transmission line valves during valve inspections that might be required during any emergency," even though they're required to test them at least once a calendar year.
  • When safety monitoring in a compression station showed a low reading in 2008, records show that Texas Eastern promptly did... nothing. "The records showed that TETCO had not initiated any remedial action for approximately 3 years after the initial low reading was discovered."

NaturalGasWatch.org, which spotted this yesterday, has the full notice here.

But yeah -- back to the pipeline these guys are running into Jersey City and Manhattan right now: don't worry about it.

Previous Coverage:

[npinto@villagevoice.com] [@macfathom]

Go to Runnin' Scared for all our latest news coverage.


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