The Call - Winter 2013 - (Page 11)

G OV E R N M E N T A F FA I R S Keeping You Informed Trey Forgety NENA Government Affairs Director One of the many ways NENA represents your interests in Washington is by serving as a twoway conduit for information: We provide input to Congress and the myriad federal agencies interested in learning the perspective of 9-1-1 professionals on an incredibly diverse range of issues. We also provide information to you when a federal agency or lawmaker has something to share that might benefit your daily work. This quarter, I’m pleased to share three related items of interest from the Department of Transportation: Two recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board, and a new regulation from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. WE PROVIDE INPUT TO CONGRESS AND THE MYRIAD FEDERAL AGENCIES INTERESTED IN LEARNING THE PERSPECTIVE OF 9-1-1 PROFESSIONALS ON AN INCREDIBLY DIVERSE RANGE OF ISSUES. WE ALSO PROVIDE INFORMATION TO YOU WHEN A FEDERAL AGENCY OR LAWMAKER HAS SOMETHING TO SHARE THAT MIGHT BENEFIT YOUR DAILY WORK. In the summer of 2010, as millions of barrels of oil spewed from BP’s Macondo wellsite in the Gulf, another, less-well known spill took place in Kalamazoo County, MI. There, a 30-inch diameter crude oil pipeline owned by Canadian operator Enbridge passed through Marshall Township along its route from Sarnia, Ontario to Griffith, IL. The rupture fouled the Kalamazoo River and a number of sensitive wetlands with more than 834,000 gallons of oil over a 17-hour period, and called attention to several safety issues associated with pipeline operation. Fortunately, the pipeline break occurred just as operators were shutting down the line for regular maintenance. Unfortunately, however, that shutdown may have contributed both to the initial breach, and to a delayed recognition that a breach had occurred: The shutdown likely generated a temporary increase in pressure in the pipeline segment near Marshall, but that pressure was still more than 200psi lower than the pipe’s minimum test pressure as recorded in its 1969 commissioning papers. The failure occurred along a longitudinal or length-wise weld seam, resulting in a large gash running more than six feet down the length of the pipeline, and opening to more than five inches along the circumference of the pipe. This failure was initially detected by two separate computerized systems, one responsible for measuring any differences in the amount of oil pumped into and out of the pipeline at its terminals, and another responsible for measuring the pressure and flow characteristics of the oil transiting the pipeline. Operators at the Enbridge control center in Edmonton either misunderstood or did not accept as valid the alarm signals they received from these monitoring systems, putting the warnings down to transients caused by the scheduled shutdown. As a result of this misunderstanding, the pipeline was later restarted on two occasions, totaling 1.5 hours of operation — and 634,000 gallons of spilled oil, before the leak was detected and responders notified of the breach. Shortly after the initial pipeline break occurred, the first 9-1-1 call came in, reporting a strong odor of natural gas or crude oil. Firefighters were dispatched but could not locate a leak. Subsequent calls to 9-1-1 resulted in repeated assurances that responders had been dispatched, but neither the responding fire department nor the 9-1-1 center was aware of the pipeline and the expected differences between a natural gas leak and a crude oil leak. As a consequence, neither agency attempted to contact Enbridge. This lack of awareness was put down to two factors: The failure of Enbridge to measure and continually improve the effectiveness of its required Public Awareness Program, and the lack of publicity surrounding the National Pipeline Mapping System. In order to address these factors, the NTSB reiterated one previous recommendation to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”), and issued a new recommendation to NENA and to the International Association of Fire Chiefs (“IAFC”). The reiterated recommendation states that PHMSA should: “Require operators of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines and hazardous liquid pipelines to provide system-specific information Read the digital edition at 11

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Call - Winter 2013

President's Message
From the CEO
Government Affairs
Tech Trends
Education & Operational Issues
Creating an Emergency Communications Center
Quality Improvement for Quality Assurance
Hurricane Isaac TX-TERT Deployment
Meet the Challenge
Make an Impact
Index to Advertisers/

The Call - Winter 2013