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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation P-95-002
Details
Synopsis: ABOUT 11:55 ON 3/23/94, A 36-INCH DIAMETER PIPELINE OWNED AND OPERATED BY TEXAS EASTERN TRANSMISSION CORPORTION (TETCO) RUPTURED CATASTROPHICALLY IN EDISON TOWNSHIP, NEW JERSEY, WITHIN AN ASPHALT PLANT COMPOUND. THE FORCE OF THE RUPTURE AND OF NATURAL GAS ESCAPING AT A PRESSURE OF ABOUT 970 PSIG (POUNDS PER SQUARE INCH GUAGE) EXCAVATED THE SOIL AROUND THE PIPE AND BLEW GAS HUNDREDS OF FEET INTO THE AIR, PROPELLING PIPE FRAGMENTS, ROCKS, AND DEBRIS MORE THAN 800 FEET. WITHIN 1 TO 2 MINUTES OF THE RUPTURE, ONE OF SEVERAL POSSIBLE SOURCES IGNITED THE ESCAPING GAS, SENDING FLAMES UPWARD 400 TO 500 FEET IN THE AIR. HEAT RADIATING FROM THE MASSIVE FIRE IGNITED THE ROOFS OF SEVERAL BUILDING ROOFS IN A NEARBY APARTMENT COMPLEX. OCCUPANTS, ALERTED TO THE EMERGENCY BY NOISES FROM ESCAPING GAS AND ROCKS HITTING THE ROOFS, FLED FROM THE BURNING BUILDINGS. APPROXIMATELY 1,500 APARTMENT RESIDENTS WERE EVACUATED. MIRACULOUSLY, NO DEATHS DIRECTLY RESULTED FROM THE RUPTURE AND RESULTING FIRE. MOST INJURIES WERE MINOR FOOT BURNS AND CUTS THAT THE APARTMENT RESIDENTS SUSTAINED FROM THE HOT PAVEMENT & GLASS SHARDS AS THEY FLED THE COMPLEX. DAMAGE FROM THE ACCIDENT EXCEEDED 25 MILLION.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE RSPA: DEVELOP TOUGHNESS STANDARDS FOR NEW PIPE INSTALLED IN GAS AND HAZARDOUS LIQUID PIPELINE, ESPECIALLY IN URBAN AREAS.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Pipeline
Location: Edison, NJ, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA94MP001
Accident Reports:
Texas Eastern Transmission Corporation Natural Gas Pipeline Explosion and Fire
Report #: PAR-95-01
Accident Date: 3/23/1994
Issue Date: 2/7/1995
Date Closed: 3/17/2003
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: RSPA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: RSPA
Date: 3/17/2003
Response: The Safety Board notes that in response to this recommendation, RSPA requested that the American Petroleum Institute Line Pipe Specification Committee (API SC5) develop and prescribe a minimum toughness requirement in API 5L, Specification for Line Pipe. In 1997, the API initiated a task group within the SC5 to develop minimum fracture toughness for line pipe that would satisfy RSPA's request. The committee determined that no single, prescriptive toughness requirement could satisfy the needs of all line pipe users, which include gas and hazardous liquid pipelines, water supply systems, and sewer systems. Subsequently, RSPA urged the committee to develop a two-level specification to identify stricter standards for line pipe that is used in more critical applications, such as gas and hazardous liquid pipelines. The API SC5 incorporated toughness requirements in the 42nd edition of API 5L (January 1, 2000). Pipe manufacturing specifications are now divided into two product specification levels, PSL-1 and PSL-2. The PSL-1 requirements are essentially the same as those in the 41st edition of API 5L. The new PSL-2 specification requires a minimum toughness, in addition to improved quality assurance, more stringent chemical composition, and tighter control of the range of specified minimum yield strength and tensile strength for each designated grade of pipe. You advise that API's efforts to improve the line pipe specification have resulted in an acceptable manufacturing specification that addresses minimum fracture toughness for line pipe used in gas and hazardous liquid pipelines. You also indicate that RSPA has verified that pipe manufacturers have indicated their readiness to comply with the new PSL-2 specification and meet pipeline industry demand. Accordingly, because RSPA, working with API, developed toughness standards as recommended, Safety Recommendation P-95-2 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action." The Safety Board notes that RSPA will soon publish a final rule under Docket No. RSPA-99-6106 incorporating standard API 5L (42nd edition) into the gas pipeline (49 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] Part 192) and hazardous liquid pipeline (49 CFR Part 195) safety regulations. This action will ensure that all steel pipe used in constructing pipelines has adequate toughness to prevent brittle fracture.

From: RSPA
To: NTSB
Date: 12/10/2002
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 12/18/2002 2:59:13 PM MC# 2021043 In response to this recommendation, the RSPA requested the American Petroleum Institute's (API) Line Pipe Specification Committee (API SC5) to develop and prescribe a minimum toughness requirement in API 5L, Specification for Line Pipe. In 1997 the API initiated a task group within the SC5 Committee to develop minimum fracture toughness for line pipe that would satisfy RSPA's request. The committee determined that no single, prescriptive toughness requirement could satisfy the needs of all line pipe users, which include gas and hazardous liquid pipelines, water supply systems, and sewer systems. Subsequently, RSPA urged the committee to develop a two-level specification to identify stricter standards for line pipe that is used in more critical applications, such as gas and hazardous liquid pipelines. API SC5 incorporated toughness requirements in the 42nd edition of API 5L (January 1, 2000). The pipe manufacturing specifications are now divided into two Product Specification Levels, PSL-1 and PSL-2. The PSL-1 requirements are essentially the same as those in the 41st edition of API 5L. The new PSL-2 specification requires a minimum toughness, in addition to improved quality assurance, more stringent chemical composition, and tighter control of the range of specified minimum yield strength and tensile strength for each designated grade of pipe. Incorporation of Improved Toughness Standard: We believe that API's efforts to improve the line pipe specification have resulted in an acceptable manufacturing specification that addresses minimum fracture toughness for line pipe used in gas and hazardous liquid pipelines. RSPA has verified that pipe manufacturers have indicated their readiness to comply with the new PSL-2 specification and meet pipeline industry demand. The API has requested RSPA to expedite the incorporation of the 42nd edition of API 5L into the Federal pipeline safety regulations. See enclosed for a copy of the request and a summary of the additional technical requirements for line pipe include in PSL-2. RSPA will soon publish a final rule in Docket No. RSPA-99-6106 that will incorporate standard API 5L (42nd edition), into the gas pipeline (49 CFR Part 192) and hazardous liquid pipeline (49 CFR Part 195) safety regulations. This will ensure that all steel pipe used in constructing pipelines has adequate toughness to prevent brittle fracture. Toughness is a Factor in the Integrity Management Program: In addition, RSPA's integrity management series of rulemakings include consideration of pipe toughness as one of the factors in determining the risk posed by a pipe segment. This can impact inspection priorities and frequencies for pipelines that could impact unusually sensitive areas in the event of integrity loss. The soon-to-be-published integrity management program regulations for gas transmission pipelines will require consideration of pipe toughness, especially as it can affect seam integrity and age-related susceptibility of the pipe to rupture.

From: NTSB
To: RSPA
Date: 4/18/2001
Response: The Safety Board is aware of the reported action that has been taken on these issues and appreciates the RSPA update. Specifically, RSPA reports that in accordance with its risk-based regulatory philosophy, it intends to incorporate a process into its regulations to validate pipe integrity, especially in high-consequence areas. RSPA staff provided a briefing to Safety Board staff on a new initiative to examine effective methods to maintain pipeline integrity in high-consequence areas. In addition, RSPA has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) concerning pipeline integrity management for pipeline operators who operate 500 or more miles of hazardous liquid pipelines. On September 13, 2000, the Safety Board provided its comments regarding this NPRM. On December 1, 2000, RSPA issued its rule for operators who operate 500 or more miles of hazardous liquid pipelines. The Board is also aware that RSPA plans to issue NPRMs covering the balance of operators of hazardous liquid pipelines, as well as operators of natural gas transmission pipelines. The Safety Board is also aware that on December 8, 2000, RSPA issued a NPRM to address P-98-35 and -36. The Safety Board is reviewing the NPRM and expects to provide comments in the near future. The Board notes that your April 24, 2000, letter did not provide specific information on Safety Recommendations P-87-26, P-90-29, P-95-2, and P-98-34 through -36. We are aware, however, through staff contact of some ongoing activity with respect to these recommendations; these recommendations are currently classified "Open--Acceptable Response." The Safety Board would appreciate specific information on actions taken by RSPA to meet these safety recommendations so that RSPA's progress on these issues can be evaluated.

From: RSPA
To: NTSB
Date: 4/24/2000
Response: Pipeline Integrity Management: In accordance with our risk-based regulatory philosophy, RSPA intends to incorporate a process into its regulations to validate pipe integrity, especially in high consequence areas. At the last semiannual meeting RSPA briefed the NTSB pipeline safety staff on a new initiative to examine effective methods to maintain pipeline integrity in high consequence areas. We updated the NTSB staff on our progress earlier this month. RSPA held a public meeting at the Dulles Hyatt Hotel (Herndon, Virginia) on November 18-19, 1999, to consider the need for additional safety and environmental regulations for gas transmission lines and hazardous liquid pipelines in high-density population areas, commercially navigable waters, and areas unusually sensitive to environmental damage. We were pleased that Robert Chipkevich, Chief of NTSB's Hazardous Materials Division, was able to share his insights on this issue. The purpose of the meeting was to determine the extent to which operators now have integrity management programs, to explore effective ways to promote their development and implementation by all operators, and to discuss mechanisms by which RSPA could confirm the existence and adequacy of such operator-developed programs. The attendees discussed a practical definition of high consequence areas, as well as the possible need for increased inspection, enhanced damage prevention, improved emergency response, and other measures to prevent and mitigate pipeline leaks and ruptures in high consequence areas. We believe that an effective regulation to protect pipelines in high consequence areas will help address NTSB Safety Recommendations P-87-4, P-87-5, P-87-23, P-87-26, P-90-29, P-91-1, P-95-1, P-95-2, and P-98-34. A proposed regulation for hazardous liquid pipelines will be issued by early April 2000.

From: NTSB
To: RSPA
Date: 6/18/1999
Response: THE SAFETY BOARD IS AWARE THAT RSPA HAS BEEN WORKING WITH THE API AND IS CONSIDERING A RULEMAKING EFFORT TO INCORPORATE TOUGHNESS REQUIREMENTS PROPOSED AT THE 1997 API STANDARDIZATION COMMITTEE CONFERENCE AND THE JUNE 1998 API TASK GROUP MEETING INTO THE PIPELINE SAFETY REGULATIONS. BASED ON THESE ACTIONS, P-95-2 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE." THE BOARD ENCOURAGES RSPA TO EXPEDITE ITS EVALUATION OF THE API GUIDELINES AND PUBLICATION OF FINAL RULE.

From: RSPA
To: NTSB
Date: 7/1/1998
Response: IN JUNE 1995, IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FROM RSPA, THE AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE (API) LINE PIPE SPECIFICATION COMMITTEE ORGAINZED A TASK GROUP (API-SC5-5L-TGLP) TO REVISE THE API 5L SPECIFICATION TO INCLUDE MINIMUM TOUGHNESS REQUIREMENTS FOR API-X52 AND HIGHER GRADE LINE PIPE. RSPA TECHNICAL STAFF PARTICIPATED IN THE TASK GROUP AND OTHER COMMITTEE MEETINGS AND PROVIDED TECHNICAL INPUT. AT THE 1997 API STANDARDIZATION COMMITTEE CONFERENCE IN DENVER, CO, A PROPOSAL FOR MINIMUM TOUGHNESS REQUIREMENTS FOR LINE PIPE WAS APPROVED AT THE TASK GROUP LEVEL. CURRENTLY, A PROPOSAL TO DEVELOP A TWO-LEVEL 5L SPECIFICATION TO IDENTIFY STRICTER STANDARDS FOR LINE PIPE THAT IS USED IN MORE CRITICAL APPLICATIONS. A WORKING GROUP WAS FORMED WITH THE CHARGE TO DEVELOP A REQUIRED MINIMUM TOUGHNESS FOR LINE PIPE BASED UPON WALL THICKNESS, DIAMETER, AND GRADE. A PROPOSAL WILL BE PRESENTED TO THE JUNE 1998 API TASK GROUP MEETING. AFTER THE API 5L COMMITTEE HAS CONCLUDED ITS CONSIDERATION OF THE TOUGHNESS REQUIREMENTS FOR LINE PIPE, RSPA MAY PROPOSE A RULEMAKING TO INCORPORATE THESE TOUGHNESS REQUIREMENTS INTO THE PIPELINE SAFETY REGULATIONS. RSPA REQUESTS THAT P-95-2 CONTINUE TO BE CLASSIFIED AS "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE ACTION" UNTIL NEW TOUGHNESS REQUIREMENTS HAVE BEEN INCORPORATED INTO THE PIPELINE SAFETY REGULATIONS, AT WHICH TIME WE REQUEST THAT IT BE RECLASSIFIED AS "CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION."

From: NTSB
To: RSPA
Date: 10/31/1997
Response: NTSB REQUESTED A FOLLOWUP ON THIS DATE 10/31/97.

From: NTSB
To: RSPA
Date: 7/17/1995
Response: THE BOARD IS PLEASED TO NOTE THAT THE AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE IS WORKING TO INCORPORATE TOUGHNESS STANDARDS INTO ITS LINE PIPE SPECIFICATIONS, WHICH ARE LISTED IN THE APPENDIX TO ITS STANDARDS FOR SPECIFIYING TOUGHNESS PROPERTIES IN THE MANUFACTURE OF PIPE. THE BOARD BELIEVES THAT IF THE PIPE INVOLVED IN THE EDISON, NEW JERSEY, RUPTURE HAD ADEQUATE TOUGHNESS PROPERTIES, THE RUPTURE MIGHT HAVE BEEN PREVENTED OR THE OPENING CAUSED BY THE RUPTURE MIGHT HAVE BEEN SUBSTANTIALLY SMALLER, IN EITHER CASE, THE CONSEQUENCES OF DAMAGE TO PIPE IN URBAN AREAS COULD BE SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED IF PIPE USED TO CONSTRUCT PIPELINES IN THOSE AEAS MET ADEQUATE TOUGHNESS STANDARDS. THE BOARD IS AWARE OF RSPA'S RISK ASSESSMENT PRIORITIZATION (RAP) PROCESS, WHICH SHOULD HELP RSPA IDENTIFY SAFETY IMPROVEMENT AREAS THAT WILL YIELD MAXIMUM BENEFITS FROM INVESTMENT OF FINITE RESOURCES. THE RAP PROCESS USES THE OPINIONS OF THOSE WHO ARE KNOWLEDGEABLE ON AN ISSUE, AS WELL AS THOSE WHO HAVE LIMITED OR NO KNOWLDGE ON THE ISSUE. THE RESULTS PROVIDE A CONSENCUS OPINION ON RISK, BUT NOT A SCIENFIC IDENTIFICATION & ASSESSMENT. THE BOARD DOES NOT BELIEVE THAT RSPA SHOULD USE ONLY THE RAP PROCESS IN DETERMINING WHETHER TO ESTABLISH STEEL PIPE TOUGHNESS PROPERTIES. RSPA SHOULD ALSO CONSDIER THE SPECIFIC NEEDS OF AN INCREASING NUMBER OF DENSELY POPULATED COMMUNITEIS THAT ARE ADJACENT TO, OR EXPANDING TOWARD, HIGH-PRESSURE PIPELINES. PLEASE KEEP US INFORMED OF YOUR PROGRESS IN DEVELOPING TOUGHNESS STANDARDS FOR LINE PIPE. IN THE INTERIM P-95-2 HAS BEEN CLASSIFED "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE."

From: RSPA
To: NTSB
Date: 5/12/1995
Response: RSPA IS ADDRESSING THE ISSUE TO PIPELINE TOUGHNESS STNADARDS THROUGH THE RAP PROCESS. DURING THE RAP IDENTIFICATION OF PIPELINE SAETY ISSUES CONDUCTED IN OCTOBER 1993, PEIPELINE TOUGHNESS IS NEOW INCLUDED IN THE GROUP OF PIPELINE SAFETY ISSUES ON WHILCH RSPA IS SEEKING COMMENT FROM ALL STAKEHOLDERS. THE REQUEST FOR INFO NOTICE PUBLISHED ON 2/8/95 SEEKS SOULTIONS TO THE PIPELINE SAFETY ISSUES. RSPA WILL RANK ALL OF THE PROPOSED SOLUTIONS IDENTIFIED THROUGH THE RAP PROCESS BASED ON PROBABILITY & CONSEQUENCE MITIGATION & THE COST OF SOLUTION IMPLEMENTATION. THE OVERALL RANKING OF THE SOLUTIONS WILL BE USED AS A GUIDE FOR FURTHER RSPA ACATION. IN ADDITION TO THE RAP PROCESS, RSPA HAS REQUESTED THE AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTES (API) COMMITTEE ON PRODUCTION STANDARDS ADDRESS THE ISSUE OF PIPELINE TOUGHNESS. THIS COMMITTEE, ON WHICH RSPA PARTICIPATES, IS WORKING TO INCORPORATE TOUGHNESS REQUIREMENTS IN THE LINE PIPELINE SPECIFICATIONS.