Pa. commission approves pipeline failure settlement

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Farm and Dairy file photo

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission approved a settlement related to a massive pipeline failure and fire in Beaver County involving the “Revolution Pipeline” — resulting in nearly $2 million in civil penalties and additional preventative measures required by the pipeline operator, Nov. 18. 

Incident

The Revolution Pipeline is a 24-inch natural gas pipeline operated by Energy Transfer Company, doing business as ETC Northeast Pipeline. Early on the morning of Sept. 10, 2018, a portion of the pipeline failed in Center Township, Beaver County. 

That incident released more than three million cubic feet of natural gas and caused a fire that burned for several hours, destroying a nearby home and garage, damaging several electric transmission lines and towers in the area, and burning several acres of surrounding woodland.

The commission voted 3-0 to approve the settlement, which resolves an investigation conducted by the Safety Division of the commission’s independent Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement, which is responsible for inspecting pipelines and investigating and enforcing safety violations for the commission. 

This action by the commission comes following thorough review of comments from state lawmakers, advocates, local governments, and various concerned individuals, which were submitted to the commission after the proposed settlement was published in July 2021. 

Settlement

The settlement includes the following:

A $1 million civil penalty, to be paid by ETC to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania within 30 days of final approval of the settlement. 

Approximately $975,000 in additional safety-related measures, including added pipeline start-up procedures, including 24-hour monitoring during start-up, along with employees onsite at each valve station who are qualified to operate those valves, continuing until the pipeline reaches operating pressure. 

Incorporation of preconstruction research into pipeline design, to ensure that the information about the evaluation of geohazards is conveyed to the design team and construction inspectors working in the field. In-line inspections of the Revolution pipeline, prior to the start-up or operation date for that pipeline. 

Multiple annual in-line inspections on the Revolution pipeline, to verify the integrity of the pipeline. 

Immediate notice to the commission’s Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement of any slope failure affecting pipeline integrity, and enhanced procedures to monitor and patrol the entire Revolution pipeline right of way. 

Implementation of a quality assurance/quality control program to oversee pipeline siting and construction practices for the company’s gas and hazardous liquids pipelines in Pennsylvania.

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