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36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.
22

36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

(OP)
From AL.com, | 9-18-2016 | by Dennis Pillion
On the morning of Sept. 9, an inspector with the Alabama Surface Mining Commission was performing a routine monthly check of an old coal mine in Shelby County when he noticed "a strong odor of gasoline" as well as a sheen on the surface of one of the retention ponds.

The gasoline he was smelling came from Colonial Pipeline's Line 1, an underground pipeline three feet in diameter that normally pushes 1.3 million barrels of gasoline per day from refineries in Houston to distribution centers across the Southeast and along the eastern seaboard.

That 36-inch line, built in 1963, has been estimated to supply the east coast of the United States with up to 40 percent of its gasoline supply. Colonial Pipeline initiated a shutdown of Line 1 within 20 minutes of receiving the report about a potential leak.

That section of pipeline remains closed. Eight days later, official estimates climbed to 336,000 gallons of lost gasoline. More than 700 people were working around the clock to dig up the pipe, plug the leak, clean up the old mining property south of Birmingham and restore supply.

With the flow of gasoline interrupted, the governors of six states have declared a state of emergency to allow truck drivers to work longer shifts to head off shortages at the pumps.

Gasoline is now being shipped by alternate routes throughout the southeast. Alternate pipelines are being used, and gasoline is even being shipped by tanker ship from Houston to New York.

Colonial announced Saturday the company will construct a temporary pipeline to bypass the spill site in hopes of restoring gasoline flows more quickly. No timetable was given for completing the bypass line."

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

(OP)
Now 8 days with no gasoline deliveries, more than 800 working to fix it.

Gives you an idea of how troubling a deliberate explosion would be.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

Definitely. Thanks for the 'disaster'.

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

Wonder why it was that Colonial did not discover the leak themselves?

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

I find it interesting that the governors declaring the state of emergency do so to suspend supply and demand while also dropping driver-safety regulations. The government action is about "how do we ensure that the gasoline pumps don't run dry?" while the media accounts I've seen have spun it to be an environmental "disaster" (starting to hate that word). I can understand taking steps to ensure a supply of a critical product. I have a harder time with the flogging that the industry is taking from the media, federal government, and e-NGO's. The supply of energy is crucial to modern life, disruptions in energy supply are a real threat to modern life. When this spill is done and the clean-up complete, the owners of the pipeline will pay tens of millions of dollars in fines for a response to a pipeline failure that looks to an outsider like it was competent, responsive, and very much in the interests of the impacted citizens. It makes me sad that none of that will matter.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

BI - kind of depends on what sort of leak detection system they've got doesn't it. for that vintage of line I doubt they can be much better than 2-3% of flowrate - this site has some good pics of the stopling equipment it looks like they're going to use to create the "bypass"

http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2016/0...

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

3
@zdas04,

Sorry, but if you created an incident that spilled a whole lot of material that can contaminate soil, water tables, rivers and streams, you deserve negative consequences. You make it sound like we should be thanking them for being so nice as to clean up after themselves.

Leaking 250,000-336,000 gallons of gasoline into a Wildlife Management Area is not a victimless fact of life in the oil/gas industry. IMO there is no acceptable damage to natural resources.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

It's been pretty interesting around here this weekend. Every gas station is out. Luckily we have enough to make it through, we hope, though we will skip running errands until some fuel gets in. We also have one diesel car and that seems to still be available. It's almost like someone said the word "snow" and all the milk and bread miraculously disappeared from the stores.

Please remember: we're not all guys!

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

Regardless of what automated leak detection system they've got, or not got, at least one of the HUMAN operators probably should have noticed what was going on before someone just happened to CALL it in. (After all a loss of some 20 backyard swimming pools of gasoline should have dropped pressure pretty severely somewhere).

With my latest experiences dialing up a certain bank and waiting for hours to get through, I can also imagine how many times the automated answering system said it did not understand (the word "leak") and to please repeat, or stay on the line for another 30min waiting for a human service representative to respond. But ... I'm getting too far ahead of where this is right now. Has anybody tried to call in a pipeline emergency lately? How did that go?

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

7
Littleinch,
I make the volume of that line about 500,000,000 gallons and moves 1.7 million gallons/day. 336,000 is about 20% of daily flow, but there is no way to know how many days it took to get to that number. If it was more than about 20 days, then the leak rate would have been less than the measurement uncertainty.

JNeiman,
That line carries 1.7 million gallons of gasoline to the eastern seaboard every day. Nearly 40% of the gasoline used in the region it serves. It has done this for 50 years. Shipping that quantity by truck or rail would not be possible with the installed infrastructure, so that pipeline was an important factor in allowing the people who prefer to live in the Eastern half of the U.S. to be able to do that. I don't know the maintenance record on that line and neither do you. I don't know the cause of the discharge, and neither do you. You are jumping to blame when it is possible that some entrepreneur in Alabama might have tapped into the line to steal gasoline and the failure could have been on his sub-standard piping. It has happened many times. We won't know until we know. Conjecture at this time is pointless and harmful.

I'm not sure that anyone should be thanked here, but their efforts have been prompt and significant. That fact got lost in the Plains America spill, and it shouldn't have. The enviro-wacko's are so quick to vilify any industry that it is easy to lose the fact that these companies are made up of people who are likely your friends and neighbors and they are doing the best job they can in the face of a group that hates them and has the ear of the government and media.

You seem to lose the fact that this stuff is naturally-occurring and like all such materials Nature has evolved organisms that deal with it. Crude oil and NATURAL gas are actually a part of the food chain and the biggest environmental outcome of the Deepwater Horizon spill (for example) was a decade of depressed PRICES on shrimp because of the abundance of food (microbes that eat crude) led to a glut of shrimp. This will be similar. There is gasoline on the ground in that Wildlife Management Area, and it is messy and smelly. I will be messy and smelly for a few months and then people will notice an increase in the insect populations and then people will notice an increase in the bird populations (first the birds that eat insects, then the birds that eat birds), then a return to "normal" whatever that means until the next hurricane, flood, or fire causes that "normal" to be disrupted.

Quote (JNeiman)

IMO there is no acceptable damage to natural resources.
Really? Mosquitoes are natural, do you swat them? How about ebola or zika, do you want them eradicated? They are natural. Oh I get you, there is no acceptable damage to pretty scenery and furry critters that look like you could pet them. Crude oil is just as "natural" as a harp seal pup or a Smoky Mountain vista. The hypocrisy of your position makes me ill.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

Kind of difficult to take someone's crocodile tears about vilification seriously when they use terms like "enviro-wackos" to disparage their opposition. Just sayin'.

That said, I should not have been surprised to see the Deepwater Horizon or the Duffy Street catastrophes associated with natural scenic vistas. "Carcinogens, fire, explosions, plutonium, dismemberment; all natural... what's the big deal?" It would be funny if you weren't serious.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

Zdas04. Dave, please check your units. I think you mean 1.7 million gallons per hour?? The OP quotes 1.3 million barrels per day. As you day we have no data to speak of and the leak could have been over days. That sort of number is often a complete guess just to tell the regulator something. That is a big product line so it would take a big hole to be noticed by the system.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

zdas you seem to say that we would be better off if we started spreading all the petroleum and products out on the ground or into the Gulf then? I'd just as soon keep it out of all food chains. Last thing we need is an overabundance of shrimp, bugs and birds and whatever else hitches a ride in them when the petroleum percolates into their food chain, then ours. Why can't we just be satisfied with keeping the petroleum inside the pipe and the food chains outside the pipe ... you know .. like how it's supposed to be done... and leave it at that. Last thing I think we need here is making up some kinds of nonsensical advantages that effectively excuse another epic fail in our industry. If I am tired and embarrassed of continually seeing one pipeline leak after another, I can certainly understand how everybody but you wants to see all pipeline projects stopped.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

LittleInch,
Reporting seems to be all over the map on this. I've seen 1.7 million gallons/day, 1.3 million barrels/day both reported. The barrels/day seems more believable.

BigInch,
"keep the petroleum in the pipe"? Sorry, but it is already an important component of the food chain. The way that people knew there was such a thing as crude oil or natural gas was that it leaks out of the ground with no assistance from people at all. Millions of barrels leak into the oceans of the world every single day. It doesn't just float to the surface and coat the feathers of sea birds. It is consumed by microbes. Those microbes are consumed by krill and plankton. The krill (the largest source of atmospheric CO2 on the planet) and plankton feed the whales and billions of other sea creatures. Without hydrocarbons at the base, the oceanic food chain falls to pieces. The terrestrial food chain is a bit more complex, and without hydrocarbon seeps many areas would still have their food chain intact, but others would change dramatically.

That is why I say this "20 backyard sized swimming pool leak" (great phrase by the way) is really small beans to the environment, far from an environmental disaster, possibly a major economic disaster, but not an environmental one.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

1.3MM BPD is almost 40fps through that 36" diameter. Pretty fast velocity for a pipeline pipe. Keeping in mind that 10fps equates to around 350,000 BPD, I doubt flow could be more than half of that 1.3MM BBLS/day number 750,000 BPD and might be even less. If they are indeed talking about only one 36" pipe.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

I get 1.3 MM BBL/day in a 36 inch pipe to be 11.591 fps. The API critical velocity for gasoline is 14.7 fps. Colonial's web page says "Over 1 million bbl/day."

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

3

Quote:

The krill (the largest source of atmospheric CO2 on the planet) and plankton feed the whales and billions of other sea creatures. Without hydrocarbons at the base, the oceanic food chain falls to pieces.
The oceanic (and terrestrial) food chain has sunshine at its base, not hydrocarbons. That is elementary school level biology. Where do you think all the petroleum came from?

This is not meant as a slight. But with such a limited grasp of the basics of nature, I'd stick to the mechanical engineering side of making pipelines that don't leak, and otherwise let the "enviro-wackos" continue to look out for your best interests.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

OK That (and only that) I can agree with. I droppped a PI somewhere.

You've got me believing that Challanger was just a successful way to find the true O-ring failure mechanism.


RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

@zdas40

Your response is simply rude. You're being completely dramatic and hyperbolic, playing to extremes and insulting those who disagree. I don't think any further discussion with you would be productive at all.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

A question might be, why is there only one pipeline serving most of the eastern states?

After all single points of failure identification is important in most business planning.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

Quote (cranky108)

A question might be, why is there only one pipeline serving most of the eastern states?

Because pipelines are expensive and they don't get built unless the money to fund them is sitting there waiting to be claimed.

Colonial's line has not one but two mains- the second main is 40" in diameter and is usually used for jet fuel, heating oil, and other distillates. Supposedly they are now using parts of it to transfer gasoline around the leak site.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

Spartan5
Clever, ever see a photograph of the ocean at say 1,000 ft of depth? Kind of absolute darkness. Much like the inside of a cave. Fauna that evolved there cannot live in sunlight and they spend their entire lives at depth. Gotta be food there doesn't there? Darn good thing that Mother Nature stored some sunlight over the last 300 million years as crude oil or those ecosystems would not be sustainable since current sunlight is not really an option. Maybe you should have listened closer in high school biology?

JNeiman,
I just re-read my post to you and completely miss how I was rude. When you make a statement like I quoted (which was pure hyperbole by the way) and then accuse me of hyperbole for responding with a question on your definition of "natural". I guess "rude" is in the eye of the beholder. I'm fine with you not having "any further discussion" with me.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

A well maintained product pipeline is highly reliable. Enough so that it is typical to have only one per region. Low rates and high costs won't usually support the construction of more, although in this case Plantation Pipeline also serves the same general areas. I would suppose that it is busy with its usual customers and can't devote any time to make up the shortfall. It is also not easy to change the scheduled movements of products to delivery points as the tank availability and shippment schedules are made up a month or more in advance. Much of existing capacity is dedicated for a year or more, at least the season, to various shippers and contracts are already signed, sealed, so any deviation would cost the pipelines even more if they failed to deliver to those existing clients. Excess pipeline capacity is rarer than hobby horse shi###, since nobody has been able to build a new liquid pipeline there for probably 50 years or more .... for painfully obvious reasons.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

Uh yes zdas, surprisingly enough, I do prefer to keep it inside the pipe, at least until it arrives at its destination. I always thought it was one of the implied points of my contract requirements to sustain my continued gainfull employment.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

Quote:

Clever, ever see a photograph of the ocean at say 1,000 ft of depth? Kind of absolute darkness. Much like the inside of a cave. Fauna that evolved there cannot live in sunlight and they spend their entire lives at depth. Gotta be food there doesn't there? Darn good thing that Mother Nature stored some sunlight over the last 300 million years as crude oil or those ecosystems would not be sustainable since current sunlight is not really an option. Maybe you should have listened closer in high school biology?
This magical world you speak of in the ocean deeps over which there is a roof preventing foodstuffs from settling, and around which there are walls keeping food laden currents from penetrating must be quite the wonder to behold!

Yes, there is some minute population of bacteria which subsist on dilute seeps of oil dispersed through the vast seas. Hell, there are even some real oddball chemoautotrophs down there chewing away on inorganic compounds. But that is orders of magnitude different than the asinine statement that petroleum is the base of the oceanic food chain.

At best, your need to rely on hyperbole speaks volumes about the inadequacy of support you have for the point you are trying to make.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

2

Quote (zdas04)

Clever, ever see a photograph of the ocean at say 1,000 ft of depth? Kind of absolute darkness. Much like the inside of a cave. Fauna that evolved there cannot live in sunlight and they spend their entire lives at depth. Gotta be food there doesn't there? Darn good thing that Mother Nature stored some sunlight over the last 300 million years as crude oil or those ecosystems would not be sustainable since current sunlight is not really an option. Maybe you should have listened closer in high school biology?

Luckily for all that fauna at 1,000 feet, there's a biomass laden ocean above them, teeming with creatures that constantly die and sink to the bottom for them to sustain themselves on. Those dead creatures all grew up eating algae or plankton or krill, all of which trace their energy source back to the sun. Cold seep (which are usually methane gas or hydrogen sulfide, not crude oil or anything similar) and hydrothermal vent systems are a very, very, very, very, very minuscule percentage of overall ocean biomass.

Seriously, your argument has jumped the shark.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

"petroleum is the base of the oceanic food chain" Yes it is. Macondo made it so. Now we have to keep on feeding all those newcomer shrimp with the stuff. If we fail to do this now, all the Gulf shrimpers will be out of work and we'll have to pay their unemployment and damages to their businesses again, close down all those shrimp restaurants... and ... you can see where that takes us. Spill more oil, the heavier the better, gasoline, diesel, must keep helping the environment. God, don't keep it in the pipe just to burn it later. Some people just don't get it.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

Come on guys, let us not get into personal attacks. I did not perceive of anything that David said as rude. His reference to enviro-wackos was not directed at anyone here.

The organic matter that drops to the bottom of the ocean is where petroleum comes from, so petroleum comes from solar energy and from once living things, and it will get metabolized in time when released into the ocean. That is a valid perspective. If you want to debate certain points please keep it civil. You are agueing about black versus white in a world of grays.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

Also note that it has been suggested that the production of "petroleum" and other so-called "fossil fuels" was how nature (and for many, that would also imply God) went about 'sequestering carbon'. If you accept that, and it seems to be a reasonable supposition when all things are considered, how is it then in our and the world's best interest, to be so intent on getting all that carbon out of the ground and back into the environment? I mean it has the feel of undoing what took untold millennia to accomplish in the first place. Just a thought...

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

If that much fuel can leak without the operator knowing it one could hot-tap it and run their gas station for decades without ever buying a pint. Hmmmmmm


At the company I worked at we used simple pressure transducers every 10 miles or so and WWV time. We detected the shock-wave caused by s leak initiating and using the time calculate to within a few feet where the leak was located. Seems they should have something like that installed on such a large mess-maker.

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

Terms like 'huge, large, small, tiny' are misleading used by themselves. Compared to what? This leak is pretty small compared to the pipeline capacity. It is large compared to a swimming pool. I'm not going to take the time to do the simple calculation, which several others have already done and made some errors in the process. A shock wave would only be created if the whole pipeline bust open.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

Itsmoked,
I've never worked in oil transport, but in gas that kind of thing happens frequently. A pipeline welder gets a bright idea and in the dark of night drops a hot tap on a line that is not visible from well traveled roads and then uses that gas to run a greenhouse (usually growing something that isn't legal) in a remote location. Some pretty big operations have been busted in New Mexico, Wyoming, and Alabama. They were big by stealing-gas standards, but didn't show up in the system balance. I would be really shocked if the same thing hadn't happened to gasoline pipelines. People with questionable morals can be sneaky.

As to the rest of it, I give up. This 336,000 gallon spill that is nearly enough gasoline to fill 20 backyard swimming pools is the ecological disaster of the millennia and the worst thing that has happened to the planet since the flood. The Santa Barbara seep and the millions of other places where crude leaks into the ocean or into a tar pit (la Brea anyone?) were all a conspiracy of big oil. I'm not sure what Big Oil gets from putting millions of barrels/day of crude oil into the oceans and land surfaces, but those guys are subtle.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

We are not trying to take captured carbon and put it back into the air. We are trying to make use of the captured energy.

Just a fact that people want some sort of lifestyle, energy, water, food, entertainment, transportation.
If you try to take it from them, they will complain.

I don't understand the natural gas, or oil industries, but in the electric-world we are told we must have extra capacity in-case of lines out of service. We must have extra power plants to supply the peak demand.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

Quote (Compositepro)

A shock wave would only be created if the whole pipeline bust open.

That is not at all true.

The tiniest pin hole creates a shock wave. What do you think I was detecting on the Alyeska Pipeline, the CalNev pipeline, and the fuel line runs to the island Kansai International Airport? That shock wave moves at the speed of sound down the pipe in both directions. If it is a small leak then it is a small shock wave. The limit of the tech is in how much noise the line normally has. The tradeoff is closer sensors or bigger leak detections.

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

Many pipelines do not have any leak detection, especially ultrasonic (sonic shock wave) leak detectors. But pressure loss is the second effect and that can be very fast in a liquid line. A little bit of volume lost will reduce pressures substantially and almost immediately, unless it is temporarily disguised by topographic effects as the line bleeds down a long elevation change, but even then, some astute operator should have caught it (generally) within a few hours maximum. It has seen been before in a few cases, upon seeing decreasing pressures, an operator makes the wrong decision and might even bring another pump online to raise the pressure back up, or certainly not close a valve until he is sure it isn't "instrument error", at least until somebody notices that a certain tank is no longer getting filled. But we'll have to wait for the dust to settle before we start knowing more about that. If this line doesn't have an ultrasonic monitor on it, it certianly should have had one. IMO there would be only a very poor, totally unacceptable excuse not to have one on such a pipeline as this.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

Sorry, I have never heard an ultrasonic leak detector called a shock wave detector before.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

Me nether.

In my experience ultrasonic is used to find gas leaks. There's a large market for handheld guns that help linemen and such hunt down gas leaks especially in pole mounted phone cables since the leaks squeal ultrasonically.

I've also seen transverse ultrasonic flow meters, Alyeska has them.

What I was detecting was the shock wave caused by the breaking/holing/opening incident. It looks precisely like a negative pressure spike when monitoring the bulk line pressure. It's very transient and lasts perhaps a millisecond before the pressure returns to the average seen before and after the break. The actual pressure in the line has likely dropped but often too small an amount to ever discover on casual inspection, or is buried in the noise as a 1/10th PSI in perhaps a 1000PSI line.

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

Yeah I see that. Really is a shame. In this Colonial line think of the savings an investment in a break detect system would've provided in this case. It's a bit sad.

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

Had to update that post with some recent years legislation. It appears to be required now on at least some pipelines. CFR 49 Part 195.452 - part of integrity management requirements, which being pretty much only an operating concern, I have tended to overlook during recent years. Leak detection which can be comprised of ultrasonic detection and other methods seems to be reqired only in "high consequence areas". There may be some wiggle room on the specifics, depending on when the pipeline was constructed. In any case, these systems are not probhibitingly expensive and there would be little excuse IMO for not implementing them on the entire length of any important pipeline, which has been the general international practice since many years now.

So, if this pipeline had coverage in that area, we need to see why it didn't activate. Too early to speculate much.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

Leaving aside the do bugs and other organisms eat hydrocarbons debate, the key points coming out from here are whether this was or should be detectable.

The rather precise figure of 336,000 gallons is actually a nice round 8,000 bbls - in other words a complete guess. Colonials own website indicates a normal flowrate of 1.3 million barrels a day, hence even if this was over one day ( seems unlikely) this is 0.6% of the flow. There aren't many (any?)detection systems that would pick that up but if this was a minute pin hole corrosion leak which then gradually got a bit bigger then I can't see any of the normal techniques picking this up.

I recall there was much delight in the UK when reporting of leak volumes went from gallons to cubic metres. Made any loss of containment sound much smaller.... Same thing with the barrels / gallons.

Gasoline is probably the best of all the refined oils to leak out as the majority just evaporates, providing no one sets it on fire.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

LittleInch,
Debate? For nearly 30 years I've periodically "land farmed" oil-contaminated dirt by putting a mix of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria on it and mounding it up and then periodically turning it over to exchange the aerobic spaces with anaerobic spaces, after a few months the resulting soil is in high demand by greenhouse operators to grow flowers and vegetables in. If this wasn't a real process, then the beaches off Santa Barbara would be awash in oil instead of showing an acceptable amount of tar balls. Same with all of the beaches in the world.

I like the rest of your post.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

Zdas04 - I'm aware that carbon based organisms can handle hydrocarbons and it is a natural substance. I think the issue is always about the other impacts (coating birds, removing oxygen, ingestion by various creatures etc), especially with Crude Oil, and how much oil these microbes can deal with in one go.

It's great you've found a way to rehabilitate "contaminated" land / soil.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

Bacteria eats oil. No debate about that. I just rather not have it enter my food chain if it's at all possible to avoid, even though it might even be healthier than some of the other more common fertilizers that could also get thrown on top of the veggies. My job, and that of many others, was to make damn sure that it was not a pipeline that furnished the fertilizer.

Ultrasonic leak detection gives an almost immediate notice of a leak having occured. Once the leak's sound from even the smallest pinhole reaches the nearest detector and it can be distinguished from background noise that is present during normal operation, the alarm sounds. There is no threshold volume associated with the amount of volume to trigger the alarm, as there is when using volumetric based leak detection methods. Ultrasonic leak detection can give a relatively immediate indication of a very small leak as what might take weeks , or longer, when using volumetric methods. It also appears that the leak detection method that must be used when leak detection is required under the CFRs is not specified.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

I kind of feel like I've beaten this to death, but I just came across a 2013 article on why the ecological impact of BP's Deepwater Horizon hydrocarbon release dissipated in months rather than decades. I found it interesting.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

My understanding from ultrasonics is that they need a lot of sensors to pick up the smallest or even moderate sized leaks. Not sure how often, but when you look into it the figures seem to be in the range of hundreds or less of meters between each sensor.

Fine for a short line with highly toxic contents, but a 4,500km long system?

I note that the run inspection pigs every 5 years, but the system is 50+ years old - a few corrosion spots seem likely and how the coating is surviving after that long is a minor miracle - it might have started accelerating its disintegration and sucking in more and more amps of CP current.

I think it is a subject of many previous studies into how the infrastructure installed in the 1960s and 70's is being renewed now that it is running at or beyond its original design capacity and carries such a large percent of the energy flow from one part of the country to another.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

Well you only really need to place the sensors across high consequence areas, not the entire 4500km.

Everyone seems to be favoring fibreoptic sensing these days, because you usually have that cable for comms and controls anyway, but I thought you could have 25-50km between accoustic sensors, depending on desired level of accuracy. Let's ask itsmoked for comments about c/c spacing.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

Dave, Let's hear what BP has to say about that technique. Hindsight being 20/20 and all.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

(OP)
Wednesday, 21 Sept: about noon Eastern DST Time.

Radio now reporting the pipeline has been fixed, was tested this morning satisfctorily.
(I assume that means the hydrostatic test passed and all NDE on the pipeline new sections' welds was accepted.)
Claims two-three days to fill the pipeline and get gasoline flowing again.

RE: 36 inch Colonial gasoline pipe across the south breaks: Spills 336,000 galloons - No fire, no gas.

3
zdas, I was taking your word as written, but have now gotten around to reading your 2013 link. Interestingly your link only says that the microbes are doing well. It doesn't mention anything about your supposed tons of shrimp that are eating them, probably because shrimp don't eat anerobic bacteria. I'd suppose it is because shrimp live a lot closer to the surface than the anerobic bacteria can. One of the other links in the same article you referenced doesn't dismiss damage to the environment as easily as you imply. 'Dirty blizzard' in gulf may account for missing Deepwater Horizon oil
That other link, the 'Dirty blizzard' concept, tends to agree with the more common opinions which in fact say that there were and still remain many harmful effects from the spill, and especially the tons and tons of the Conexit dispersement chemical that was used to "clean it up", or at the least says that the jury on potential long term effects of this is still out. Worthy to note that Conexit use is still banned in Canada and the EU.
BBC's documentary Profit Pollution and Deception BP and the Oil Spill
CBC's documentary

[link http://www.cbc.ca/news/multimedia/bp-oil-spill-the-economic-and-environmental-cost-5-years-later-1.3037553]A recent report from the National Wildlife Federation suggests a number of species continue to endure effects from the spill. In 2014, for example, the number of dolphins found dead on the Louisiana coast was four times the historic rate.

The study suggested that Corexit EC9500A causes damage to human lungs.

BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, 5 years later

I can always trust those Canadians for an unbiased opinion.
I'm afraid that your credibility gap has widened.

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