An advisory bulletin to remind owners and operators of natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines was issued by The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The notice states the potential for damage to pipelines caused by earth movement from landslides and subsidence in variable, steep and rugged terrain and for varied geological conditions.
“These conditions can pose a threat to the integrity of pipeline facilities if those threats are not identified and mitigated,” PHMSA said. The administration said it was “aware of recent earth movement and other geological-related incidents/accidents and safety-related conditions throughout the country, particularly in the eastern portion of the United States.”
PHSMA advised operators to identify areas that may be prone to large earth movement, utilizing geotechnical engineers during design, construction and operation of pipelines, and developing design, construction, monitoring and mitigation plans for pipelines and to take a series of actions to ensure pipeline safety.
According to PHSMA, flooding, soil erosion and landslides in five states over past three years caused natural gas spills as well as pipeline ruptures. Landslides was blamed for some notable events that included an Energy Transfer Partners pipeline in Western Pennsylvania that slipped and exploded in September and for an explosion on Columbia Gas Transmission LLC’s Leach Xpress in June 2018.