UT Pipeline Fails Pressurization Test

Friday, May 3, 2013 @ 06:05 PM gHale


Chevron’s pipeline remains idled after it failed a pressurization test at the Willard Bay State Park area in Utah.

The failure happened between Bear River and Ogden in a stress test conducted Monday under the supervision of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration.

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Gareth Johnstone, a Chevron spokesman, said the standard operating pressure of the pipeline is 1,870 pounds per square inch and it failed at 2,606 pounds per square inch — or within 2.3 percent of the range where the pipeline could fail.

“It is a process that you are expected to go through,” he said.

Still, the failure means more investigation for Chevron and more scrutiny for the 760-mile pipeline that runs from Salt Lake City and ultimately ends in Spokane, WA.

Federal investigators believe a failure of the seam in a section of the pipeline caused a March 18 spill of an estimated 600 barrels of diesel fuel. The diesel saturated some wetlands, contaminated nearby groundwater and some trickled into Willard Bay.

Since then, the northern half of the bay and the state park’s north marina and campground have remained closed, creating frustration for the Utah State Division of Parks and Recreation.

“We are coming up on the busiest part of the season and this is the third most visited park in our system,” said spokeswoman Deena Loyal. “It is a huge impact to us, our revenues, to have this park closed.”

Loyal said the park will remain closed through the Memorial Day weekend and the division is just taking it day by day after that.

Loyal said Monday’s test failure confirms their concerns the park should remain closed until officials can assure public health.

“We definitely continue to have concerns over public health and public safety,” she said. “We will rely on the science and the testing from the state Department of Environmental Quality to determine when we can open.”

The environmental agency in its latest update found trace concentrations of diesel-related contaminants continue to be in the treatment area. Chevron is routing clean water around the treatment area which will allow scientists to better determine the extent of soils contamination, the agency said.

The agency said removing the water from the treatment area has dried up the beaver ponds, where they rescued six beavers. The animals continue to recover at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah.



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