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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation P-95-005
Details
Synopsis: ABOUT 11:55 ON 3/23/94, A 36-INCH DIAMETER PIPELINE OWNED & OPERATED BY TEXAS EASTERN TRANSMISSION CORPORTION (TETCO) RUPTURED CATASTROPHICALLY IN EDISON TOWNSHIP, NEW JERSEY, WITHIN AN ASPHALT PLANT COMPOUND. THE FORCE OF THE RUPTURE & OF NATURAL GAS ESCAPING AT A PRESSURE OF ABOUT 970 PSIG (POUNDS PER SQUARE INCH GUAGE) EXCAVATED THE SOIL AROUND THE PIPE & BLEW GAS HUNDREDS OF FEET INTO THE AIR, PROPELLING PIPE FRAGMENTS, ROCKS, & 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 & ROCKS HITTING THE ROOFS, FLED FROM THE BURNING BUILDINGS. APPROXIMATELY 1,500 APARTMENT RESIDENTS WERE EVACUATED. MIRACULOUSLY, NO DEATHS DIRECTLY RESULTED FROM THE RUPTURE & RESULTING FIRE. MOST INJURIES WERE MINOR FOOT BURNS & 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 TEXAS EASTERN TRANSMISSION CORPORATION: INSTALL AUTOMATIC- OR REMOTE-OPERATED EQUIPMENT ON MAINLINE VALVES IN URBAN AREAS TO PROVIDE FOR RAPID SHUTDOWN OF FAILED PIPELINE SEGMENTS.
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: 7/19/1996
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Texas Eastern Gas Pipeline Corporation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Remote Operated Valves

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Texas Eastern Gas Pipeline Corporation
Date: 7/19/1996
Response: THE BOARD NOTES THAT TEXAS EASTERN HAS RESEARCHED THIS ISSUE, TESTED VARIOUS DEVICES & METHODS TO ACCOMPLISH THE SAFETY OBJECTIVE, & PLANS TO INSTALL REMOTE-CONTROLLED VALVE OPERATOR EQUIPMENT AT VARIOUS SITES IN EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA & NEW JERSEY. WE RECOGNIZE THE EXCELLENT WORK BY TEXAS EASTERN TO ACHIEVE A RAPID SHUTDOWN CAPABILITY FOR ITS INTERCONNECTED PIPELINE SYSTEMS & WOULD APPRECIATE BEING ADVISED OF THE PROGRAM'S PROGRESS & RESULTS. BASED ON THIS INFO P-95-5 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION."

From: Texas Eastern Gas Pipeline Corporation
To: NTSB
Date: 4/1/1996
Response: TEXAS EASTERN HAS NOW COMPLETED THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE FOLLOWING PLANS & PROCEDURES WHICH SHOULD PROVIDE CLOSURE TO THE NTSB'S RECOMMENDATIONS P-95-5, P-95-6 & P-95-7. TEXAS EASTERN HAS INITIATED A PROGRAM TO INSTALL REMOTE CONTROLLED VALVE OPERATOR EQUIPMENT AT VARIOUS SITES IN EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA & NEW JERSEY. DEPENDING ON THE SUCCESS OF THIS PROGRAM, THE COMPANY PLANS TO INSTALL RCV AT OTHER URBAN AREAS.

From: NTSB
To: Texas Eastern Gas Pipeline Corporation
Date: 7/3/1995
Response: THE BOARD NOTES THAT TEXAS EASTERN IW WORKING WITH THE GAS INSTITUTE IN THIS EFFORT. WE LOOK FORWARD TO RECEIVING THE RESULTS OF THE STUDY CURRENTLY BEING CONDUCTED. PENDING ITS COMPLETION, P-95-5 IS CLASSIFIED "OPEN-ACCEPTABLE RESPONS."

From: Texas Eastern Gas Pipeline Corporation
To: NTSB
Date: 4/5/1995
Response: THERE ARE DOCUMENTED OPERATIONAL & RELIABILITY ISSUES THAT MUST BE RESOLVED BEFORE THIS RECOMMENDATION CAN BE IMPLEMENTED. TEXAS EASTERN BELIEVES THAT A JOINT EFFORT BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AGENCIES & THE PIPELINE INDUSTRY SHOULD BE CONDUCTED TO ADDRESS THE RELIABILITY ISSUES BEFORE ANY ACTION IS TAKEN. TO THIS EXTENT, TEXAS EASTERN, IN A JOINT EFFORT WITH THE GAS RESEARCH INSTITUTE, IS CONDUCTING A STUDY TO IDENTIFY & TEST VARIOUS DEVICES & METHODS THAT COULD OEPRATE MAINLINE VALVES IN A TIMELY & RELIABLE MANNER. SHOULD THE TEST PROVE SUCCESSFUL & THE COMPANY IS CONFIDENT THAT THE REMOTE OR AUTOMATIC CONTROLLED VALVES ARE RELIABLE & SAFE, THE COMPANY WILL BEGIN A PROGRAM OF INSTALLING THIS EQUIPMENT IN URBAN AREAS. IN THE MEANTIME, TEXAS EASTERN HAS MODIFIED ITS EMERGENCY RESPONSE PROCEDURES TO INCLUDE THE DISPATCHING OF AVAILABLE PERSONNEL TO CLOSE THE VALVES IMMEDIATELY UPSTREAM & DOWNSTREAM OF THE VALVES NEAREST THE RUPTURE.