Underground pipeline rupture in California, Pipeline was heated and corroded

On May 19th, an underground pipeline carrying crude oil ruptured beneath the California coastline near Santa Barbara. The 101,000 gallons of spilled crude created a slick that extended nine miles along the coast and has already adversely affected wildlife.

The pipeline is owned and operated by Plains All American Pipeline Company. Pipeline was not carrying tar sands but was heated (just as tar sands pipelines are) which puts the integrity of the pipe’s metal at a higher risk for corrosion. A new report from federal regulators describes how corroded Line 901 really was – nearly half of the metal wall (upwards of 45%) of the pipeline was eaten away by corrosion at the time of the spill.

Early findings released by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (the regulatory body that oversees all pipelines, including the Flanagan South) do not point to a conclusive cause of the failure rupture but do take note of the massive corrosion.

Another pipeline owned by the company, Line 903, which connected to the ruptured pipeline, is also showing signs of corrosion and Plains All American Pipeline is under orders to review the pipeline for safety concerns.

Clean-up efforts are currently underway and the federal investigation into the incident is on-going.

Read more coverage of the Line 901 rupture at these news sites: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-oil-spill-pipeline-20150603-story.html

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/05/20/408176115/oil-spill-off-california-coast-fouls-4-miles-of-coastline

 

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