by Max Brantley
Questions continue to mount on the Exxon Mobil pipeline rupture that drenched a Mayflower neighborhood with Canadian tar sands and forced evacuation of homes.
Questions that follow are posed in a post on the Naked Capitalism website by an unnamed person described as a pipeline engineer and also a supporter of the Keystone XL pipeline because pipelines are safer than trucking crude oil:
Interesting where the leak occurred next to a transformer and phone box or at least it appears that way. Possible ground fault. Exxon should have seen this potential and corrected it if this was the case. You don’t place transformers over the top of steel structures, it is a sure invite to disaster.
Another thing is interesting is that people didn’t know that this pipeline existed under their neighborhood. Either Exxon was not following Federal requirements to inform all populations within a certain distance from the line, or people did not understand.
Third is that this pipeline reversed flow sometime back so I am guessing it would have had to been pressure tested and that would have required the neighborhood to have been evacuated at Exxon’s expense. Wonder if that happened?
This line is in a High Consequence Area (HCA) and therefore should have had a defect detection tool (ILI) run down it at a much higher frequency than segments not within an HCA. Have there ever been any anomalies at this location and if so were they repaired and were preventative actions taken to correct the problem? Has internal corrosion ever been an issue?
Had Exxon ever considered moving this segment of line after the subdivision was built over it and if not why? In my estimation this line should have been moved if at all possible. Large transmission lines have no business being under subdivisions.
... One of my pet peeves is counties that allow developers to develop subdivisions to be built over the top of utility transmission corridors for oil, gas or power.
UPDATE: Note that Attorney General Dustin McDaniel believes, contrary to ExxonMobil assertions, that spilled oil has reached Lake Conway. He told KATV:
"I don't understand where this distinction is coming from, from the cove and Lake Conway. The cove is part of Lake Conway…The water is all part of one body of water.
"I think it's very fair to say that Lake Conway has not received catastrophic damage, but of course there is oil in Lake Conway."