North Central TexasCommunities Alliance



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NCTCA Comments On The News...

By: Jerry Lobdill, an NCTCA Advisory Board Member :: June 7, 2010

The huge pipeline explosion in Pecan Plantation near Cleburne this afternoon apparently occurred when a drill bit hit the buried 36 inch line.  This is the most common cause of pipeline explosions according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration, an agency of the US Department of Transportation.  If this pipeline is a gas gathering line, it is essentially unregulated except for initial design. The exact location of such buried lines can be a mystery to excavators.  There was a similar incident in 2006 in Parker County.

Regardless of regulations and best practices, incidents like this continue to happen. It is just another indication that the industry is reckless and irresponsible.  Most of the regulations that govern such installations are subject to self reporting by industry. Although regulation files are full of the proper paperwork regarding these lines, that has no bearing on the actual safety of them.

The probability of occurrence of these incidents is obviously going to increase as these lines are installed in urban settings where there is more human activity than in rural areas.  The fire in this one created unbearable heat at 300 yards. Note well that there is no setback whatever for pipelines inside Fort Worth.