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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation P-95-004
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: EXPEDITE THE COMPLETION OF THE STUDY ON METHODS TO REDUCE PUBLIC SAFETY RISKS IN THE SITING & PROXIMITY OF PIPELINES, MODIFY THAT STUDY TO INCLUDE CONSIDERATION OF BUILDING STANDARDS, & MAKE THE COMPLETED STUDY WIDELY AVAILABLE TO LOCAL & STATE GOVERNMENTS.
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: 9/9/2002
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: RSPA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: RSPA
Date: 9/9/2002
Response: At our meeting, your staff also advised that the New Jersey Institute of Technology study to identify methods to reduce public safety risks in relation to the proximity of pipelines to public facilities and high population density areas was completed on June 30, 1998. Further, your staff advised that RSPA has made the completed study widely available to local and state governments. In addition, RSPA is currently finalizing its report to Congress on population encroachment. Accordingly, because RSPA has taken action as requested, Safety Recommendation P-95-4 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: RSPA
To: NTSB
Date: 7/11/2002
Response: At the July 11, 2002, meeting with the Administrator, RSPA staff advised that the New Jersey Institute of Technology study to identify methods to reduce public safety risks in relation to the proximity of pipelines to public facilities and high population density areas was completed on June 30, 1998. Further, your staff advised that RSPA action has been completed to make the completed study widely available to local and State governments. In addition, RSPA is in the finalizing its report to the Congress on population encroachment. RSPA Administrator requests P-95-4 be classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: NTSB
To: RSPA
Date: 7/13/2000
Response: ON 6/18/99, BASED ON INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THE RSPA LETTER OF 7/1/98, P-95-4 WAS CLASSIFIED "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE," PENDING A FURTHER RESPONSE FROM RSPA. COPIES OF RECOMMENDATIONS P-87-34, P-90-21, P-95-4, P-96-1, P-97-6, P-97-7, P-97-8, P-98-1, P-98-2, P-98-3, P-98-4, P-98-5, AND P-98-25 AND ASSOCIATED CORRESPONDENCE ARE ENCLOSED. THE SAFETY BOARD WOULD APPRECIATE LEARNING OF ANY ACTION TAKEN OR PLANNED TO COMPLY WITH THESE RECOMMENDATIONS, ESPECIALLY P-97-7 AND -8, WHICH MAY BE DISCUSSED AT A BOARD MEETING.

From: NTSB
To: RSPA
Date: 6/18/1999
Response: THE SAFETY BOARD UNDERSTANDS THAT, IN REGARD TO P-95-4, RSPA RETAINED THE NEW JERSEY INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (NJIT) TO PERFORM THE RECOMMENDED STUDY, WITH THE STIPULATION THAT, BECAUSE RSPA HAS NO AUTHORITY TO SITE PIPELINES, THE NJIT ANALYSIS BE LIMITED TO IDENTIFYING METHODS FOR REDUCING PUBLIC SAFETY RISKS RELATING TO THE PROXIMITY OF PIPELINES TO PUBLIC FACILITIES AND HIGHLY POPULATED AREAS. THE BOARD FURTHER UNDERSTANDS THAT RSPA CONCLUDED A CONSENT ORDER REQUIRING THAT TETCO DEVELOP AN ENCROACHMENT THREAT PROFILE DEFINING POTENTIAL THREATS THAT DIFFERENT LAND USES MAY PRESENT TO PIPELINES, AND THAT A WORKSHOP WILL BE HELD WITH LAND-USE OFFICIALS IN NEW JERSEY TO DISCUSS WHERE THE RISKS ARE AND HOW GOVERNMENT AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS CAN MITIGATE THEM. IN ADDITION, RSPA IS WORKING ON A NUMBER OF INITIATIVES, INCLUDING THE EVALUATION OF THE TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD SPECIAL REPORT #219, PIPELINES AND PUBLIC SAFETY, WHICH ADDRESSES PIPELINE SITING ISSUES. BECAUSE OF RSPA'S PROGRESS IN IMPLEMENTING THE RECOMMENDED ACTION, P-95-4 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE." THE BOARD ENCOURAGES RSPA TO EXPEDITE ITS ACTION ON THESE INITIATIVES.

From: RSPA
To: NTSB
Date: 7/1/1998
Response: THE NEW JERSEY INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (NJIT) WAS RETAINED BY RSPA TO STUDY THE PROBABILITY AND CONSEQUENCES OF PIPELINE FAILURES ON GAS AND HAZARDOUS LIQUID PIPELINE FACILITIES LOCATED IN HIGH RISK AREAS. SINCE RSPA HAS NO AUTHORITY REGARDING THE SITING OF PIPELINES, THE NJIT ANALYSIS WAS LIMITED TO IDENTIFYING METHODS TO REDUCE PUBLIC SAFETY RISKS IN RELATION TO THE PROXIMITY OF PIPELINES TO PUBLIC FACILITIES AND HIGH POPULATION DENSITY AREAS. NJIT COMPLETED REPORTS ON THE PROBABILITY AND CONSEQUENCES OF PIPELINE FAILURES IN 1996. THEY ARE PRESENTLY AVAILABLE FROM THE NATIONAL TECHNICAL INFORMATION SERVICE (NTIS). IN ADDITION, RSPA CONCLUDED A CONSENT ORDER THAT REQUIRES TEXAS EASTERN TRANSMISSION COMPANY (TETCO) TO DEVEOP AN ENCROACHMENT THREAT PROFILE TO DEFINE POTENTIAL THREATS THAT DIFFERENT LAND USES MAY PRESENT TO PIPELINES. THIS PROFILE CAN BE USED AS A BASIS FOR IDENTIFYING ACTIONS AND CONTROLS THAT LAND USE PLANNING AGENCIES AND PIPELINE OPERATORS GENERALLY CAN EMPLOY TO INCREASE PROTECTION OF PIPELINES FROM ENCROACHMENT. A WORKSHOP WILL BE HELD WITH RSPA STAFF AND LOCAL LAND-USE OFFICIALS IN NEW JERSEY TO DEMONSTRATE WHERE THE RISKS ARE AND TO EXPLORE HOW GOVERNMENT AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS CAN MITIGATE OR CONTROL THE RISKS. FURTHER, RSPA IS EVALUATING TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD (TRB) SPECIAL REPORT #219, PIPELINES AND PUBLIC SAFETY, WHICH ADDRESSES PIPELINE SITING ISSUES. RSPA HAS SENT COPIES OF THIS REPORT TO STATE GOVERNMENTS AND ENCOURAGED THEM TO CAREFULLY CONSIDER THE RECOMMENDATIONS IN THE REPORT. RSPA PLANS TO USE THE RESULTS OF THE TETCO ENCROACHMENT PROTECTION PROJECT IN OUR CONSIDERATION OF THE TRB SPECIAL REPORT #219. RSPA REQUESTS THAT P-95-4 CONTINUE TO BE CLASSIFIED AS "OPEN--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 WAS AWARE OF YOUR CONTRACT WITH THE NEW JERSEY INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY WHEN IT MADE P-95-4. OUR REVIEW OF THE WORK TO BE PERFORMED UNDER THAT CONTRACT INDICATED THAT CHANGES TO BUILDING STANDARDS WOULD NOT BE INCLUDED AS A MEANS OF IMPROVING THE SAFETY OF PERSON RESIDING ADJACENT TO HIGH-PRESSURE PIPELINES. PENDING RSPA'S RESPONSE CONCERNING THIS ISSUE, P-95-4 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED, "OPEN--AWAIT RESPOSE."

From: RSPA
To: NTSB
Date: 5/12/1995
Response: RSPA SIGNED A $1 MILLION, TWO-YEAR CONTRACT IN SEPTEMBER 1994 WITH THE NEW JERSEY INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (NJIT) TO STUDY THE PROBABILITY & CONSEQUENCE O PIPELINE FAILURES ON GAS & HAZARDOUS LIQUID PIPELINE FACILITIES LOCATED IN HIGH RISK AREAS. SINCE RSPA HAS NO AUTHORITY REGARDING THE SITING OF PIPELINES, THE NJIT ANALYSIS IS LIMITED TO IDENTIFYING METHODS TO REDUCE PUBLIC SAFETY RISKS IN RELATION TO THE PROXIMITY OF PIPELINES TO PUBLIC FACILITIES & HIGH POPULATION DENSITY AREAS. NJIT WILL IDENTIFY RISK MITIGATION METHODS ASSOCIATED WITH PIPELINE SITING BY DEVELOPING THE FOLLOWING STUDIES: 1. EVALUATE THE ADEQUACY OF THE PRESENT CLASS LOCATION SCHEME IN THE GAS PIPELINE SAFETY REGULTIONS, & IDENTIFY ADDITIONAL CRITERIA OR FACTORS THAT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED FOR LOCATING GAS TRANSMISSION PIPELINES IN HIGH RISK AREAS, & 2. IDENTIFY CRITERIA OR FACTORS THAT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED FOR LOCATING HAZARDOUS LIQUID PIPELINE IN HIGH RISK AREAS. THE REPORT & RESULT WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE TO OUR STATE AND LOCAL COUNTERPARTS.