SGA Blog

NTSB Board Meeting: Enbridge Pipeline Rupture Final Report & Recommendations

The NTSB recently released their finding from the July 25, 2010 pipeline rupture in Marshall, MI.  The full report can be viewed at this link.

Here are some highlights from that report:

Probable Cause:

  • Deficient integrity management procedures, which allowed well-documented crack defects in corroded areas to propagate until the pipeline failed.
  • Inadequate training of control center personnel, which allowed the rupture to remain undetected for 17 hours and through two startups of the pipeline.
  • Insufficient public awareness and education, which allowed the release to continue for nearly 14 hours after the first notification of an odor to local emergency response agencies.

Recommended PHMSA Actions:

  • Revise Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations 195.452(h)(2), the “discovery of condition,” to require, in cases where a determination about pipeline threats has not been obtained within 180 days following the date of inspection, that pipeline operators notify the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and provide an expected date when adequate information will become available. (P-12-4)
  • Conduct a comprehensive inspection of Enbridge Incorporated’s integrity management program after it is revised in accordance with Safety Recommendation P-12-11. (P-12-5)
  • Issue an advisory bulletin to all hazardous liquid and natural gas pipeline operators describing the circumstances of the accident in Marshall, Michigan—including the deficiencies observed in Enbridge Incorporated’s integrity management program—and ask them to take appropriate action to eliminate similar deficiencies. (P-12-6)
  • Develop requirements for team training of control center staff involved in pipeline operations similar to those used in other transportation modes. (P-12-7)
  • Extend operator qualification requirements in Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 195 Subpart G to all hazardous liquid and gas transmission control center staff involved in pipeline operational decisions. (P-12-8)
  • Amend Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 194 to harmonize onshore oil pipeline response planning requirements with those of the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for facilities that handle and transport oil and petroleum products to ensure that pipeline operators have adequate resources available to respond to worst-case discharges. (P-12-9)
  • Issue an advisory bulletin to notify pipeline operators (1) of the circumstances of the Marshall, Michigan, pipeline accident, and (2) of the need to identify deficiencies in facility response plans and to update these plans as necessary to conform with the non-mandatory guidance for determining and evaluating required response resources as provided in Appendix A of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 194, “Guidelines for the Preparation of Response Plans.” (P-12-10)

Recommendation Reiterated from previous report:

  • Require operators of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines and hazardous liquid pipelines to provide system-specific information about their pipeline systems to the emergency response agencies of the communities and jurisdictions in which those pipelines are located. This information should include pipe diameter, operating pressure, product transported, and potential impact radius. (P-11-8)
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