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RSPA ALLOWS COLONIAL PIPELINE ONLY PARTIAL INCREASE IN OPERATING PRESSURE

 WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) today announced that it would allow Colonial Pipeline Company a partial increase in operating pressure on its 36-inch pipeline that ruptured March 28, 1993, in Fairfax County, Va. Colonial had requested approval for full resumption of operating pressure.
 RSPA's decision, which limits Colonial to 80 percent of full operating pressure, is based on Colonial's completion of corrective actions required by the federal agency. Since the rupture, RSPA has limited Colonial to 50 percent of the maximum operating pressure of the line while Colonial performed an internal instrumented examination of the pipeline to identify abnormalities which might cause future pipeline ruptures.
 Immediately after the incident that resulted in the spill of diesel fuel into the Potomac River at Sugarland Run, Transportation Secretary Federico Pena directed the RSPA to conduct a thorough review of the pipeline program to identify actions that would increase the protection of the public and the environment from pipeline ruptures. RSPA, an agency within the Department of Transportation (DOT), has oversight responsibility for the nation's pipeline system.
 High priority actions taken as a result of RSPA's review include acceleration of five regulatory initiatives, increased liquid pipeline inspections and the formation of a coalition to develop a computerized mapping system of the nation's pipelines. Additionally, RSPA is promoting increased participation by excavators and operators in state one-call notification systems which locate pipelines prior to excavation.
 RSPA Acting Administrator Rose A. McMurray said: "Granting Colonial a limited increase in operating pressure will allow RSPA to maintain safeguards on the operation of the pipeline while enabling Colonial to deliver an adequate supply of heating fuel to customers in the Northeast during the winter."
 To verify the accuracy of the internal examination, the department required Colonial to perform 124 excavations along approximately 45 miles of the line. DOT inspectors monitored all excavations and operations and also will observe the operation of the pipeline during the pressure increase.
 Prior to returning this pipeline to full pressure, RSPA will be considering additional measures relative to design criteria as well as future methods and intervals for testing pipeline integrity.
 Department of Transportation Research
 and Special Programs Administration
 DOT Action Plan to Enhance Environmental Protection from Pipelines
 Accelerate Regulations for Petroleum Pipelines
 -- Hydrostatic testing of older pipelines. A type of pipe used in the construction of petroleum pipelines before 1970 was manufactured in a manner now known to have caused a number of failures.
 -- Previously excepted low stress pipelines. These lines, previously excepted from regulation, have in recent years accounted for a significant increase of pipeline spills into water.
 -- Internal inspection of new and replaced pipelines. Where feasible and necessary, we need to use the most effective internal inspection technology, "pigging," to identify potential problems before failures occur.
 -- Liquid operator damage prevention programs. Key to a sound damage prevention program is operator participation in one-call systems in order to reduce the likelihood of a third party digging into a pipeline. Outside force damage is one of the most significant causes of pipeline failures.
 -- Emergency flow restricting devices and related systems. Effective systems employing state-of-the-art computer and communication technology, coupled with the appropriate number of properly spaced remote controlled valves, are critical to ensuring that if a leak or rupture occurs, the pipeline can be shut down quickly.
 Refocus on Compliance Program
 -- RSPA has increased the number of inspections of newly constructed hazardous liquid pipelines. Increased oversight in the construction of pipelines is important to remedy early on any shortcomings which could affect pipeline integrity.
 -- RSPA is increasing the number of inspections of high-risk hazardous pipeline facilities to 60 percent of the planned inspections, including low stress lines.
 Increase Environmental Protection in State Pipeline Programs
 -- RSPA has begun a national campaign to encourage states to adopt improved one-call centralized notification systems to locate and mark underground utilities, including pipelines. This is the most effective means of preventing excavation damage, a leading cause of pipeline accidents.
 -- RSPA is encouraging states to perform either all or part of the range of compliance duties for intrastate and interstate pipeline facilities and may "deputize" states to help with inspection during construction and accident investigation and follow-up.
 Continue Implementation of Oil Pollution Act
 -- RSPA has prioritized its review of those plans submitted by operators of low stress oil pipelines historically excepted from RSPA's hazardous liquid pipeline regulations.
 -- RSPA has built a coalition of pertinent federal, state, industry and environmental organization representatives to develop a national pipeline mapping program using geographic information systems (GIS) technology.
 -- RSPA is working with the EPA and the Coast Guard to provide support to the Area Contingency Planning Committees created under the OPA to identify areas of environmental risk from pipelines.
 -0- 11/8/93
 /CONTACT: Patricia Klinger of the U.S. Department of Transportation, 202-366-4831/


CO: U.S. Department of Transportation; Research and Special Programs
 Administration; Colonial Pipeline ST: District of Columbia IN: TRN SU: EXE


DT-DC -- DC222 -- 1973 11/08/93 18:49 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 8, 1993
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