Posted: 24 Aug, 2016

Two oil spills in California came from incorrectly designated pipelines

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Pipeline operators need to classify pipelines as either active or abandoned status when considering safety. The designation of “idled” is not recognized by law, according to a bulletin from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). Federal regulations only recognize changing the status of a pipeline from "active" to "abandoned" and do not recognize designations beyond that framework.

“This action makes it clear that PHMSA considers pipelines either active and fully subject to safety regulations, or abandoned, and that pipeline owners and operators are responsible for making sure their pipelines do not pose a threat to people, property or the environment," PHMSA Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez said in a statement.

A corroded weld seam led to a minor crude oil spill, of about 28 barrels, in Wilmington, California. In 2014. Excavation revealed a pipeline thought to be inactive, but designated incorrectly because it was never purged properly. A pipeline in Cypress, California, through to be abandoned in 1997, recently leaked around 28 barrels of an oil-water mixture in October of 2015.

PHMSA designates pipelines as either active and subject to all relevant parts of the law, or abandoned an is "aggressively" enforcing safety measures and reminding operators of the rules.

SOURCE: Daniel J. Gregor,