Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation P-95-003
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: ELIMINATE THE EXCEPTION FOR MARKING PIPE LINES IN CLASS 3 & 4 LOCATIONS FROM EXISTING STANDARDS & ESTABLISH STANDARDS FOR PERMANENT MARKINGS THAT IDENTIFY THE LOCATION OF HIGH-PRESSURE NATURAL GAS & HAZARDOUS LIQUID PIPELINES IN URBAN, INDUSTRIAL, & COMMERICAL AREAS, WHERE MARKING IS FEASIBLE.
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: 6/23/1995
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: RSPA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: RSPA
Date: 6/23/1995
Response: THE BOARD NOTES THAT RSPA ADOPTED A FINAL RULE (60 FR 14646), EFFECTIVE 4/19/95, THAT EXTENDS EXISTING REQUIREMENTS ON EXCAVATION DAMAGE PREVENTION. ONE OF THE NEW REQUIREMENTS IS THAT LINE MARKERS BE INSTALLED ON GAS TRANSMISSION, HAZARDOUS LIQUID, & CARBON DIOXIDE PIPELINES IN ALL AREAS WHERE PRACTICAL. THE BOARD BELIEVES THAT THESE MARKERS WILL PROVIDE EXTRA PROTECTION AGAINST EXCAVATION DAMAGE & WILL IMPROVE PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE OF PIPELINE LOCATIONS. BASED ON THIS INFO P-95-3 IS CLASSIFIED "CLOSED-ACCEPTABLE ACTION."