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Field Order Issued After Pipeline Explosion

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

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In late October, over a month after the Revolution pipeline exploded near Monaca, Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a field order to the pipeline owner that requires the immediate stabilization of disturbed areas as well as the repair of erosion control features, and the immediate cessation of moving earth work.

Revolution Pipeline History

According to The Beaver County Times, the 45-mile natural gas pipeline had been in service for roughly a week before the explosion occurred Sept. 10. Nearby high-voltage electric transmission and distribution lines and towers for local power companies were also damaged. Officials said that heavy rains caused a landslide, which resulted in a section of the pipeline exploding.

The 24-inch gathering line is located in Center Township. Gathering lines are used to transport crude oil or natural gas from production sites to collection or transmission sites, according to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC).

The pipeline is located in what is known as Class 3 area—regions are ranked on a scale from one to four, based on population density. Class 1 is the most lightly populated area, for example. In a report issued a couple days after the explosion, the PUC noted that the pipeline was in the process of being energized when the incident occurred, and was last pressure tested in both 2017 and earlier this year.

DEP Field Order

DEP spokesperson Neil Shader said inspectors found unreported landslides and erosion near project construction sites. The order issued at the end of October requires the pipeline owner to stabilize disturbed areas within four days.

The most recent investigation, carried out toward the end of October, found that poor erosion control was an issue, which caused sediment pollution to flow into several creeks in the area.

The PUC is spearheading the investigation into the failure. PUC spokesperson Nils Hagen-Frederiksen noted that the pipeline will remain out of commission until Energy Transfer Partners provides documentation that demonstrates the company is compliant with federal and state codes, along with being able to operate the pipeline safely.

The pipeline owner has been ordered to produce documentation that it is in alignment with its permits by Nov. 9, and by Dec. 3, the company must detail how it plans to manage stormwater along the corridor once construction is complete.

In June, Energy Transfer Partners agreed to pay a DEP fine of $145,250 for discharging “sediment-laden runoff” into Raccoon Creek and an unnamed tributary.

Energy Transfer Partners spokesperson Alexis Daniel noted that “we remain in continued communication with the PA DEP, and have and will continue to comply with their orders.”



Tagged categories: Government; Infrastructure; Oil and Gas; Pipeline

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