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The last thing consumers want to hear about these days is refinery or pipeline problems like those that have plagued California motorists in recent weeks...
That's why speed is so important in resolving problems early so they don't become larger problems later. That's what Colonial Pipeline, based in Alpharetta, GA, managed last week. Colonial operates the largest network of pipelines (more than 5,500 miles of pipeline) from Gulf Coast refiners to East Coast markets delivering an average of 100 million gallons a day to in shipping terminals in 13 states.
Last Thursday two pipelines (#19 and 20) that move product from Atlanta to Nashville were shut down. Colonial Pipeline spokesman Steve Baker said one of the lines leaked about 500 gallons of gasoline and it was shut down immediately after an odor was detected. But fortunately, a speedy response has fully restored service.
The line carrying gasoline was repaired and the distillate line, which carries diesel fuel, jet fuel and other products, was inspected and found to be undamaged. Both lines were safely restarted Friday morning and flow rates returned to normal by midday.
“We had a crew of 85 responders divided into crews working around the clock to locate the damaged section of pipe, repair it and inspect the adjacent line to make sure it was safe to resume operating,” said Tim Felt, Colonial President and CEO.
“I want to thank them and also thank our customers who have been patient and supportive in helping us understand what we needed to do to help them serve the marketplace.”
The location of the release was near Colonial’s Moccasin Bend Delivery Facility in Chattanooga. After a nearby construction company operator reported the odor of gasoline, Colonial shut down the line transporting gasoline and the adjacent distillate line. Colonial reported a preliminary estimate to the National Response Center of 500 gallons, but that number should be revised as the investigation is completed.
The Chattanooga Fire Department also responded and assisted with air monitoring and the deployment of 2,000 feet of containment boom to protect the environment around the work site as well as the Tennessee River, about 1,000 feet away.
Too often the media reports only what might create undue alarm; but more often than not it can be an ordinary job done well --averting potential crisis-- that perhaps we should hear about too. This was one of those.