The pipeline may be at risk of rupturing from a leak caused by a faulty weld, according to federal inspectors. Millennium has lowered the pressure in the line to reduce the risk of explosion. Feds Say Major New York Gas Pipeline Poses Safety Risk – ProPublica
Sound familiar? The explosion in San Bruno last year was also caused by a faulty weld on a pipeline operating at reduced pressure. Even after having been reduced, Millennium is now running at more than double the pressure of the San Bruno line.
Lowering the pressure on a pipeline, also known as “de-rating,” is a common tactic used when corrosion weakens a pipeline. Gordon Allen Aaker, Jr., a pipeline engineer from Kingwood, TX, told Remapping Debate that derating discourages maintenance. Why would companies shut down pipelines, and the flow of revenue, “when they can just de-rate it?” asks Aaker. Remapping Debate has noted before that oversight is largely left to the companies that operate the lines. Remapping Debate
A Con Ed spokesperson, asked at last October’s CB2 meeting, how long the steel pipes proposed for the Spectra pipeline would last, replied, “Oh-50 years!” We are not reassured by this answer. Steel pipes corrode with exposure to moisture. These pipes will cross under the Hudson River; should corrosion occur, how motivated will the company be to replace those pipes?