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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation P-81-032
Details
Synopsis: ON DECEMBER 1, 1980, A PIPELINE TRANSPORTING NAPHTHA RUPTURED UNDER THE ROAD AT THE INTERSECTION OF 28TH STREET AND GALE AVENUE IN LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA. ESCAPING PRODUCT UNDER HIGH PRESSURE BLEW A HOLE THROUGH THE PAVEMENT AND SPRAYED INTO THE AIR UP TO 20 FEET AND THEN FLOWED INTO THE GUTTERS. MOMENTS LATER, THE PRODUCT IGNITED BY AN UNDETERMINED SOURCE. THE ENSUING FLAMES REACHED A HEIGHT OF APPROXIMATELY 70 FEET. AS A RESULT OF THE FIRE, 5 PERSONS WERE INJURED, 1 HOUSE WAS DESTROYED, 11 HOUSES SUSTAINED MODERATE TO SEVERE DAMAGE, AND 11 MOTOR VEHICLES WERE DESTROYED.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE UNION OIL COMPANY OF CALIFORNIA: INSTALL AND MAINTAIN PRESSURE RECORDING DEVICES ON ITS LEASE AUTOMATIC CUSTODY TRANSFER (LACT) UNITS TO PROVIDE A RECORD OF ITS PUMPS DISCHARGE PRESSURES AND THE DATES AND TIMES OF OPERATION.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Pipeline
Location: Long Beach, CA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA81MP002
Accident Reports:
Four Corners Pipeline Company Pipe Rupture and Fire
Report #: PAR-81-04
Accident Date: 12/1/1980
Issue Date: 8/26/1981
Date Closed: 5/19/1989
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Union Oil Company of California (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Union Oil Company of California
Date: 5/19/1989
Response: Concerning Safety Recommendation P-81-32, the Safety Board is pleased to learn that recording ammeters have been installed on the electric motors which drive the Fort Apache shipping pumps and a pressure recorder has been installed on the discharge side of the positive displacement shipping pumps. As a result of this action taken by the Unocal Corporation, Safety Recommendation P-81-32 has been classified as "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: Union Oil Company of California
To: NTSB
Date: 2/1/1989
Response: TOWARD THAT END, WE INSTALLED RECORDING AMMETERS ON THE ELECTRIC MOTORS DRIVING THE FORT APACHE SHIPPING PUMPS. HOWEVER, UPON RECEIVING YOUR JUNE 30, 1982 LETTER URGING THE INSTALLATION AND MAINTENANCE OF PRESSURE RECORDING DEVICES AS AN INCIDENT INVESTIGATION TOOL FOR OUR OWN USE IN OBSERVING AND CORRECTING UNUSUAL PRESSURE FLUCTUATIONS, WE PROMPTLY INSTALLED A PRESSURE RECORDER ON THE DISCHARGE SIDE OF THE POSITIVE DISPLACEMENT SHIPPING PUMPS.

From: NTSB
To: Union Oil Company of California
Date: 8/12/1988
Response: In a letter dated May 11, 1982, signed by Mr. Kendall Smith, Union Oil provided a response to the Board's safety recommendations. With respect to Safety Recommendation P-81-31, the company indicated that it agreed with the recommendation and was in the process of implementing it. In response to Safety Recommendation P-81-32, Union Oil stated that it believed that an alternative to the Board's recommendation might be available which would provide equivalent or better protection from pipeline ruptures. The company further stated that it was conducting a study of its facilities to explore alternate approaches and anticipated providing the Board with a supplemental response at the completion of the study. The Board noted this positive action in its subsequent letter of June 30, 1982, and indicated that we would hold Safety Recommendations P-81-31 and -32 in an "Open--Acceptable Action" status and an "Open--Acceptable Alternate Action" status, respectively, pending a further and more detailed response to the Board's recommendations. Our records indicate, however, that there has been no further correspondence on this matter. Therefore, in view of the time that has elapsed since the Board's previous letter, we would appreciate an update on any action that was taken or is being taken to address the concerns outlined in our recommendations. Copies of the above mentioned letters are enclosed for your easy reference. Your prompt attention to this matter will be appreciated. We look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

From: NTSB
To: Union Oil Company of California
Date: 6/30/1982
Response: The intent of the Safety Board in recommending the installation and maintenance of pressure recorder devices was to provide an incident investigation tool for your own use in observing an correcting unusual pressure fluctuations. We urge Union Oil to consider such a program without regard to the success of the alternate action proposed. If, indeed, a rupture protection device can be developed, the Safety Board would enthusiastically welcome it and foster its use. While we do urge the use of pressure recording devices in any case, we have placed this recommendation (P-81-32) in an “Open--Acceptable Alternate Action” status and await your further response regarding your study of rupture controL

From: Union Oil Company of California
To: NTSB
Date: 5/11/1982
Response: UNION OIL COMPANY OF CALIFORNIA LTR: UNION OIL SUPPORTS IN PRINCIPLE THIS RECOMMENDATION, THE APPARENT PURPOSE OF WHICH IS TO PREVENT THE RUPTURE OF PIPELINES. UNION OIL RESPECTFULLY SUGGESTS THAT THE METHOD CHOSEN BY THE BOARD TO ACCOMPLISH THAT PURPOSE MAY NOT BE THE MOST EFFECTIVE APPROACH. A DEVICE WHICH WILL PROVIDE A RECORD OF PUMP DISCHARGE PRESSURES, AND THE DATES AND TIMES OF OPERATION WILL NOT PROVIDE ANY PROTECTION, IN AND OF ITSELF, FROM A PIPELINE RUPTURE. A RECORDING DEVICE WILL DO ONLY WHAT THE WORD IMPLIES, RECORD AN EVENT WHICH HAS ALREADY OCCURRED. THE GOAL OF THE NTSB IS NOT ONE OF ALLOCATING FAULT IN CONNECTION WITH A PIPELINE ACCIDENT, BUT RATHER ONE OF TOTAL PREVENTION OF PIPELINE ACCIDENTS. UNION OIL BELIEVES THAT AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE BOARD'S RECOMMENDATION MIGHT BE AVAILABLE WHICH WOULD PROVIDE EQUIVALENT OR BETTER PROTECTION FROM PIPELINE RUPTURES. UNION OIL IS PRESENTLY CONDUCTING A STUDY OF ITS FACILITIES TO EXPLORE ALTERNATE APPROACHES AND ANTICIPATES PROVIDING THE BOARD WITH A SUPPLEMENTAL RESPONSE AT THE COMPLETION OF ITS STUDY.