Pipeline Safety

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Gas Pipeline Facts and Information for Bernards Township

FACTS

  • There are 3 major interstate pipelines which run through Bernards Township
  • Algonquin: owned and operated by Spectra Energy Transmission, enters Bernards from Bridgewater west of Somerville Road, runs northwest past the municipal building, exiting Bernards into Harding Township and the Great Swamp. It runs in a 75' easement.
  • Texas Eastern: owned and operated by Spectra Energy Transmission in same easement as Algonquin.
  • Transcontinental: owned and operated by Williams, enters Bernards from Bridgewater just east of Somerville Road, runs east paralleling Route 78, exiting Bernards into Long Hill Township east of King George Road. This pipeline runs adjacent to PSE&G's high tension electricity lines.
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  • Interstate Pipeline safety and rules fall under the domain of the US Department of Transportation, Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) (the San Bruno pipeline was an intrastate line, under the safety oversight of the California BPU).
  • Major safety legislation that gave most stringent guidelines to interstate pipelines was enacted in 2002 entitled "Pipeline Safety Improvement Act"
  • Both Williams and Spectra say they are in full compliance with the PSIA
  • The OPS runs the National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) which utilizes GIS technology to map and keep safety/inspection information on pipelines

TOWNSHIP ACTIONS

  • The Township Office of Emergency Management (OEM) coordinator was well aware of the need to prepare for emergency response regarding pipeline emergencies. Local volunteer Fire/EMS train for pipeline emergencies. Some of his and OEM actions are as follows:
  • Plan for emergency response in conjunction with the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC); in fact the pipeline topic in on their agenda for their 9/22 mtg.
  • Plan for business continuity in a Continuity of Government (COG) written plan in the event of emergency.
  • Sgt. Shimsky is scheduled to attend a pipeline safety expo on 10/6 (scheduled prior to the San Bruno event)
  • Emergency communications are being fine-tuned
  • Reverse 911 by street boundaries is now operational utilizing Somerset County’s system
  • Spectra and Transcontinental have been contacted to get detailed safety information
  • OEM has registered for access to the NPMS system run by the OPS
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  • Engineering Department has created GIS mapping layer for the pipelines for use in emergency situations and public informational campaigns

TOWNSHIP PLANS

  • Plan on having pipeline operators address the public on their safety programs at Town Hall in the very near future.
  • Spectra has scheduled to have their representative address concerned residents at the October 12, 2010 Township Committee Meeting
  • Transco representative has been approached for same
  • Plan to have pipeline information/safety line on landing page of Township website
  • Will draft communications to US Representative, and US Senators to reiterate the importance of vigilant safety monitoring by the responsible Federal agencies

SPECIFIC FEEDBACK FROM SPECTRA REGARDING ALGONQUIN/TX EASTERN LINES:

  • Bernards pipelines are in their highest safety priority zones
  • Spectra exceeds all federal interstate safety guidelines
  • Multiple aerial inspections are done weekly
  • Look for construction/landscaping activity in pipeline
  • Look for criminal activity
  • Look for signs of leaks (plant species disruption, bulges, etc.)
  • The vast majority of pipeline problems are caused by construction/landscaping activity
  • The full length of the Bernards lines are “pigged” at least annually
  • “Pigs” are technologically advanced devices that travel within the lines that measure abrasions, bulges, wall thickness, flows, etc.
  • San Bruno lines were not “pigged” – a major deficiency in inspection capability

Pipeline Safety Links