Amid NTSB Investigation, Colonial Pipeline Reopens Major Gas Line

To the relief of motorists concerned about both the supply of gas and its potentially rising costs due to the explosion of a major gas supply pipeline in Alabama on Oct. 31, 2016, Colonial Pipeline has effected the necessary repairs and reopened the pipeline.

According to a spokesperson for Colonial Pipeline, the affected portion of the pipeline was replaced with a new section, with that line, Line 1, reopening at 5:45 a.m. ET on Nov. 6, 2016, just six days after the explosion that killed one worker and severely injured five others.

The map below shows the expected dates when gasoline and gas distillate products supply are expected to return to normal, as estimated by Colonial Pipeline:

Colonial Pipeline map of expected gas supplies

Colonial Pipeline’s map of expected return to normal gas supplies following pipeline explosion of Oct. 31, 2016

 

The resumption of normal fuel supplies will alleviate the waiver of trucking regulations that were in place as a result of Alabama Governor Robert Bentley’s declaration of a state of emergency so that fuel could be delivered by tanker trucks to help prevent low fuel supplies and an increase in fuel prices.

National Transportation Safety Board Opened Investigation Into Pipeline Explosion

The NTSB, along with the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration, opened an investigation on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, into the pipeline explosion that occurred on October 31.

The NTSB is heading that investigation that they expect will last several days as they collect physical evidence from the explosion site near Helena, Alabama in addition to doing interviews with both workers at the site and staff in the offices of Colonial Pipeline in Alpharetta, Georgia.

In addition to the explosion at the pipeline itself and the death and injuries it caused to workers, people were evacuated from the rural site in a three-mile radius from the explosion and the resultant fire burned for days before it was extinguished.

The October 31 explosion took place about a mile away from a leak that occurred on the same pipeline on Sept. 9, 2016, resulting in some 250,000 gallons of gasoline leaked into surrounding areas. It was work to repair the leaked pipeline that was taking place when the October 31 explosion occurred. The September leak had initially been managed by crews building a “work around” pipeline, with the company wishing to re-establish the original pipeline through such repairs.

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, a group of Democratic representatives in the House of Representatives called for an investigation into the explosion and the 5,500-mile pipeline in general owned and operated by Colonial Pipeline, saying:

“. . . third major incident on Colonial’s system in just over a year and the seventh in less than five years. This is an unacceptable situation, and we are concerned that the number, frequency, and severity of significant incidents on Colonial’s system over the past five years could be symptomatic of severe underlying problems with the system and the company’s management of that system.”


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