PHMSA Asks Pipeline Operators to Review Their Integrity Management Programs

The DOT agency's advisory bulletin asks pipeline owners and operators to look for deficiencies like the ones NTSB found in Enbridge's program after a large pipeline spill in July 2010.

PHMSA this week issued an advisory bulletin urging all pipeline owners and operators to check their integrity management programs to ensure they do now have the same deficiencies that NTSB identified in Enbridge's IM program after one of its pipelines ruptured in a wetland July 25, 2010, near Marshall, Michigan. The break wasn't discovered or addressed for more than 17 hours, and the total release was an estimated 843,444 gallons of crude oil.

The oil flowed into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River. According to PHMSA, cleanup and remediation continues and the costs have exceeded $1 billion.

NTSB found the probable cause of the pipeline rupture was stress corrosion cracking, and that the rupture and prolonged release were caused by organizational failures at Enbridge that included: 1) Deficient integrity management procedures that allowed well-documented crack defects in corroded areas to propagate until the pipeline failed, 2) inadequate training of control center personnel, which resulted in the failure to recognize the rupture for 17 hours and through two restarts of the pipeline, and 3) insufficient public awareness and education, which allowed the release to continue for nearly 14 hours after the first notification of an odor to local emergency response agencies.

Pipeline owners and operators should review their own IM programs for similar deficiencies and to take corrective action, according to the bulletin. "Operators should also consider training their control room staff as teams to recognize and respond to emergencies or unexpected conditions. Further, the advisory encourages operators to evaluate their leak detection capabilities to ensure adequate leak detection coverage during transient operations and assess the performance of their leak detection systems following a product release to identify and implement improvements as appropriate. Additionally, operators are encouraged to review the effectiveness of their public awareness programs and whether local emergency response teams are adequately prepared to identify and respond to early indications of ruptures. Finally, this advisory reminds all pipeline owners and operators to review National Transportation Safety Board recommendations following accident investigations. Owners and operators should evaluate and implement recommendations that are applicable to their programs," according to the agency.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Comply with OSHA’s Electronic Recordkeeping Requirements

    Collect relevant incident data and generate accurate OSHA 300, 300A, and 301 regulatory reports, including 300A CSV files for easy electronic submission to OSHA.

  • Complete Online Safety Training Courses

    Deliver state-of-the art, online safety training courses to your organization with IndustrySafe Training Management Software. Generate reports to track training compliance and automatically notify learners of upcoming or overdue classes.

  • Easy to Use Safety Inspection App

    Conduct inspections on the go with IndustrySafe’s mobile app. Complete safety audits at job sites and remote locations—with or without web access.

  • Track Key Safety Performance Indicators

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations to easily track safety KPIs and metrics. Gain increased visibility into your business’ operations and safety data.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus