Huvard, LLC

August  29,  2013     Mr.  Jeffrey  D.  Wiese   Associate  Administrator  for  Pipeline  Safety   PHMSA   East  Building,  2nd  Floor   1200  New  Jersey  Ave.,  SE   Washington,  DC  20590    


Request  for  Assistance  

Dear  Mr.  Wiese  –     I  watched  with  interest  the  PHMSA  Public  Workshop  on  Integrity  Verification  Process  online   video  (August  7,  2013).  Many  of  the  issues  presented  as  PHMSA’s  concerns  are  issues  about   which  residents  in  my  neighborhood  also  are  concerned  due  to  the  proximate  routing  of  a  24”   welded  steel  transmission  pipe  (reportedly  rated  at  1080-­‐psi  with  a  planned  MOP  of  720-­‐psi)   along  a  narrow  easement  originally  provided  for  a  300-­‐psi  line.  A  related  regulator  /  pigging   station  has  been  constructed  nearby,  in  a  heavily  wooded  residential  area  on  a  cul-­‐de-­‐sac  at  the   end  of  a  long,  circuitous  residential  route,  and  in  the  flight  path  of  the  second  busiest  airport  in   Georgia.  Neither  pipeline  nor  regulator  station  belongs  in  a  highly  populated  area.     Given  the  information  we  have  accumulated  about  the  potential  risks  (low  probability  -­‐  high   consequence)  associated  with  high-­‐pressure  pipelines  and  regulator/pigging  stations,  we  have   organized  to  protest  the  placement  of  the  regulator  station.    A  significant  population  is  within   the  blast  area.  The  station  could  have  been  sited  in  a  less  populated  commercial  or  industrial   area.  However,  we  have  learned  that  no  local  agencies  have  any  authority  over  the  siting  of   pipelines  or  appurtenances,  nor  do  local  officials  have  any  authority  to  intervene  when  the   placements  endanger  the  public.    

3260 Clairmont North NE Atlanta, Georgia 30329


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  Mr.  Jeffrey  Wiese   PHMSA   August  29,  2013  

To  date,  we  have  been  unable  to  determine  what  single  agency,  if  any,  advocates  on  behalf  of  the   public  in  opposition  to  the  actions  of  providers  and  operators.  We  have  learned  that   responsibilities  are  widely  distributed  and  fragmented  and  that  the  regulations,  in  general,  are   written  by  ex-­‐industry  personnel  via  the  revolving  door  of  employment  at  government  agencies.     Contrary  to  the  gas  utilities’  common  demurrer  that  “no  one  wants  this  in  their  backyard”,  our   objections  go  beyond  aesthetics  or  inconvenience.  We  know  that  regulations  have  not  kept  pace   with  post-­‐9/11  threats,  and  the  easements  necessary  to  protect  the  public  have  not  been   increased  proportionally.  Such  installations  are  now  subject  to  homegrown  and  foreign   terrorism,  either  of  which  can  be  manifested  physically  and/or  electronically.  Consider  incidents   such  as  the  one  in  Plano,  Texas,  where  a  local  resident  attempted  to  use  a  homemade  bomb  to   blow  up  a  regulator  station  much  smaller  than  the  one  near  us.  Don  Deaver,  P.E.,  a  nationally   recognized  pipeline  expert,  said  the  resulting  explosion  could  have  been  catastrophic.  I  am  sure   you  know  of  many  other  incidents  about  which  we  have  no  knowledge.     We  have  been  stonewalled  by  the  utility  (Atlanta  Gas  Light,  a  subsidiary  of  AGL  Resources)  when   requesting  a  safety/emergency  plan.  Fire  water  resources  in  the  area  are  limited.  We  have  been   informed  that  no  additional  water  resources  have  been  considered  or  are  planned  for  fighting   secondary  fires.  The  dead-­‐end  location  of  the  regulator/pigging  station  prohibits  rapid  access  by   emergency  responders  and  makes  it  difficult,  if  not  impossible,  to  evacuate  the  area  while   responders  are  attempting  to  reach  the  site.  For  life  safety  reasons,  the  station  should  never   have  been  situated  on  this  parcel  of  land  and  should  be  relocated.     Our  concerns  are  legitimate  and  they  have  become  much  more  serious  recently.  The  regulator   station  apparently  was  built  early  and  out  of  sequence  in  order  to  forestall  residents’  effort  to   oppose  its  construction  in  its  current  location.  It  has  been  sitting  unfinished  with  no   maintenance  for  months.  There  are  several  important  facts  about  the  construction  of  the  station   I  would  like  to  share  with  you.     2

  Mr.  Jeffrey  Wiese   PHMSA   August  29,  2013  

The  site  was  the  location  of  a  creek  bed  that  transited  the  property.  There  is  substantial   watershed  and  runoff  from  the  adjacent  higher  elevation,  and  no  provisions  were  made  to   control  or  reroute  the  water.  The  old  growth  wooded  site  was  cleared,  infilled,  and  graded  for   use  as  a  welding  station  prior  to  being  regraded  several  times  during  welding  operations  and  as   the  design  /  engineering  for  the  station  evolved.  However,  prior  to  the  trench  cutting  activity  for   the  transmission  pipe  and  the  station  piping  and  equipment,  there  was  no  compaction  other   than  the  movement  of  the  excavators  placing  the  soil  lifts.     Since  the  delivery  of  the  pipe  segments,  the  pipe  has  been  supported  with  stacked  dunnage.  It  is   documented  that  pipe  supported  in  this  fashion  can  cause  deformation  contributing  to  damage   and  future  rupture.  The  welded  field  joints  on  the  transmission  pipe  and  station  piping  are  not   coated  nor  are  they  wrapped  to  prevent  corrosion.  The  trenches  have  been  left  open  and  subject   to  falling  rocks  and  vegetation.       I  have  enclosed  a  flash  drive  with  photos  of  the  current  condition  of  the  regulator  station  and   transmission  pipe.  As  you  can  see,  there  is  significant  rust  and  corrosion,  standing  water  in  the   trenches,  collapsing  fill  under  and  around  the  station  piping,  lack  of  adequate  bearing  for  and   voids  under  the  concrete  base  of  the  pigging  system  inlet,  and  other  serious  issues.       There  is  no  evidence  of  proper  coating  of  the  welds  on  the  continuation  of  the  transmission  pipe   from  the  station  site  down  to  the  connection  point  with  an  existing  pipeline  (which  pipe  is   already  in  place  and  covered).  This  pipe  is  in  a  sloped  trench  and  I  do  not  believe  that  any  trench   breakers  were  installed  to  slow  the  flow  of  any  water  from  the  top  of  the  slope  to  the  bottom.       We  know  that  substantial  water  is  still  running  through  the  site  because  it  is  finding  its  way  to   the  residents’  properties  below  the  site.  Our  assumption  is  that  the  water  is  finding  a  path   through  permeable  soil  under  the  site  infill.  This  could  undermine  the  stability  of  the  site  and   anything  on  it,  including  the  potentially  explosive  regulator  station  and  transmission  line.  The   poorly  supported  gas  line  could  eventually  deform,  leak,  rupture,  etc.     3

  Mr.  Jeffrey  Wiese   PHMSA   August  29,  2013  

We  cannot  understand  how  this  station  or  pipeline  could  be  activated  in  the  current  condition.   The  pipe  must  be  examined  for  dents  resulting  from  falling  rocks  and  debris  in  the  trenches,   rusting  and  corrosion,  and  deformation  from  improper  support  over  a  long  period  of  time.  The   regulator  station  pipe  and  equipment  must  also  be  thoroughly  inspected  and  remediated.       It  does  not  seem  plausible  that  the  necessary  remediation  could  occur  without  completely   removing  the  transmission  pipe  and  station  equipment,  repairing  the  materials,  regrading  and   properly  compacting  the  soil,  retrenching,  and  reinstalling  the  pipe  and  station  with  adequate   support  and  cover.  Minus  these  efforts,  this  installation  should  not  be  activated  regardless  of  any   tests  that  have  been  or  might  be  performed,  as  the  test  results  would  not  take  into  consideration   the  future  damage  that  could  develop  as  a  result  of  the  current  conditions.     I  look  forward  to  receiving  your  comments  and  learning  what  steps  you  think  should  be  taken  in   order  to  ensure  the  safety  of  the  nearby  residents.  We  think  PHMSA  should  open  an   investigation  and  are  hereby  requesting  this  action.  Thanks  in  advance  for  your  consideration  of   this  information.     Cordially,     Cheryl  Huvard     Cc:     Dr.  Lori  Muskat,  Clairmont  Community  Alliance,  Atlanta     Mr.  Wayne  Lemoi,  Director,  PHMSA  Southern  Region   Encl:   Flash  drive  –  Parcel  36  Regulator  Station  and  Transmission  Pipe  


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