Pipelines Inspections: Putting Safety First


Pipeline companies have an important job at hand. They are responsible for classifying pipelines based on the risk factors involved. It’s not always right. Sometimes they do classify a high-risk pipeline as having no risk also. A similar issue happened with a natural gas pipeline. Instead of classifying it as high-risk, they decided not to do so. The pipeline was running under a suburban neighborhood and it was very old. This saved a lot of money for the company as they need to do their expensive inspections on these lines.

During September 2010, this pipeline exploded and the resulting flames rose up to 1,000 feet. The fire spread around the neighborhood and affected about 38 homes. The death toll was eight and 58 people were seriously injured. Although a case as filed against the inspection company and they were found guilty, nothing is ever going to bring back the lives that were lost.

These companies should keep in mind that they are putting safety at stake for the sake of reaping profits. These inspections must be carried out properly especially in areas that are occupied with houses.

Two years ago, a similar incident happened in Wilmington where are pipeline burst sending thousands of gallons of oil into their residence. Although there was no death involved, it still affected the lives of people living in that area. The person who owned the pipeline assumed that it was empty but, the oil kept seeping through the walls of the pipe.

Incidents like these serve as reminders as to how careful the inspection company must work and what kind of regulations are required to monitor their work. The regulations for pipeline monitoring were revised recently and just revising the regulations is not enough. The work that is done by the pipeline companies must the monitored to ensure that the regulations are followed.

One must never let a company decide on the fate of public as they always put their profit first. We need to have an independent third party that can keep the public in mind and work to make sure that the regulations are met satisfactorily. This is the only way to make sure that no one gets affected due to similar situations in future.