Underground Construction - November 2019 - 6

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6

NOVEMBER 2019 | UConOnline.com

Fed Recommendations
Based on 2018
Massachusetts Blasts
Federal officials are recommending stronger nationwide requirements for natural gas
systems following last September's natural
gas explosions and fires in Massachusetts.
The National Transportation Safety Board
(NTSB) said every state should require
all natural gas infrastructure projects be
reviewed and approved by a licensed
professional engineer.
Nineteen states currently have such a
requirement, but most have specifically exempted the natural gas industry from such
review requirements, the office said.
"In all 50 states, you have to have a
license to cut hair, but you can design a
gas system that affects public safety, and 31
states exempt you from having a license or
even an engineering degree," said Robert
Hall, who heads the agency's office of
Railroad, Pipeline, and Hazardous Material
Investigations, during the board's discussion
and vote on the recommendations in
Washington, D.C.
The board also recommended that
natural gas utilities be required to install
additional safeguards on low pressure,
natural gas systems like the one involved in
the Sept. 13, 2018, disaster.
Officials concluded last October that
the series of explosions and fires had been
caused by a gas line that had become
over-pressurized during a routine pipeline
replacement project in Lawrence.
NTSB officials said the company should
have been aware of the inherent risks in the
pipeline upgrade work and taken necessary
precautions. Similar incidents have
happened at least seven times over the last
50 years across the U.S., including several
involving NiSource, Inc., the Indiana-based
parent company of Columbia Gas of
Massachusetts, they said.

EPA Funds Completion of
Rhode Island Tunnel Project
Rhode Island officials finally have an end in
sight for a $1.5 billion system of tunnels to
prevent tainted stormwater from entering
Narragansett Bay, following federal funding
approval to help complete the project

The microtunneller used to excavate the Seekonk
River Interceptor on Phase II (nicknamed the
"Seekonk River Monster"). Photo: Peter Goldberg
for the Narragansett Bay Commission.

The decades-long Combined Sewer
Overflow (CSO) project is the largest public
works project in Rhode Island history,
according to the Providence Journal, which
reported the first two phases have been
credited with major improvements in the
water quality of Narragansett Bay. Those
phases were completed in 2014, and the
Narragansett Bay Commission has since
completed a plan for the third, final stage.
The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency approved a low-interest Water
Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act
(WIFIA) loan of $269 million - about half the
amount needed to complete the project.
During heavy rain storms, combined
sewer flows can exceed the capacity of
the current system and overflow into local
rivers and the Narragansett Bay. These
overflows can carry pollutants- such as
sewage solids, metals, oil, grease and
bacteria- that can affect human health and
the environment.
The EPA's WIFIA loan will help fund the
"CSO Phase IIIA Facilities" project, which
involves construction of a 2.2-mile-long,
30-feet-wide deep rock tunnel along the
east side the Seekonk River to store and
treat stormwater before it reaches the bay.
The project also includes construction of
two work shafts, four drop shafts, a tunnel
pump station and several improvements to
the wastewater collection system.
The final CSO phase will cost $548
million. EPA's WIFIA loan will finance nearly
half of that figure - up to $269 million. The
Narragansett Bay Commission (NBC) set an
Oct. 15 deadline for contractors to submit
RFQs for Phase III construction. An RFP will
be issued to a short list in January 2020.


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Underground Construction - November 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Underground Construction - November 2019

Contents
Underground Construction - November 2019 - FC
Underground Construction - November 2019 - IFC
Underground Construction - November 2019 - Contents
Underground Construction - November 2019 - 4
Underground Construction - November 2019 - 5
Underground Construction - November 2019 - 6
Underground Construction - November 2019 - 7
Underground Construction - November 2019 - 8
Underground Construction - November 2019 - 9
Underground Construction - November 2019 - 10
Underground Construction - November 2019 - 11
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Underground Construction - November 2019 - IBC
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