8,000 gallons spilled

A Texas based  Buckeye Pipe Line says one of its pipelines has spilled more than 8,000 gallons of jet fuel into a river in the northeastern Indiana city of Decatur. The company said it immediately shut down the line Friday evening when it detected a pressure problem. The EPA said it's monitoring the air around the area, as well as the water quality at a few places downstream from the contamination. In other news, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reportedly lost 8 percent of its staff in the first 18 months of President Trump's administration due to high numbers of departing staffers and a low number of new hires. Nearly 1,600 workers left the EPA during that time, while fewer than 400 were hired. The agency's employment has shrunk to its lowest levels since the Reagan administration

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If a pipeline co reported 8,000gals, you can bet that number will grow exponentially 

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well this is the 19th major spill so far this year and last year we had thirty five of them. Nearly all of them were preventable ....

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14 minutes ago, Sefko Trafikant said:

A Texas based  Buckeye Pipe Line says one of its pipelines has spilled more than 8,000 gallons of jet fuel into a river in the northeastern Indiana city of Decatur. The company said it immediately shut down the line Friday evening when it detected a pressure problem. The EPA said it's monitoring the air around the area, as well as the water quality at a few places downstream from the contamination. In other news, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reportedly lost 8 percent of its staff in the first 18 months of President Trump's administration due to high numbers of departing staffers and a low number of new hires. Nearly 1,600 workers left the EPA during that time, while fewer than 400 were hired. The agency's employment has shrunk to its lowest levels since the Reagan administration

As for EPA, can you blame them? This administration turned the EPA into a lobby for the coal, oil and gas industry.

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2 minutes ago, Stephen said:

As for EPA, can you blame them? This administration turned the EPA into a lobby for the coal, oil and gas industry.

The way I see it is 1600 less freeloaders taking taxpayers money. Environmental protection should be under states jurisdiction 

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10 minutes ago, Stephen said:

If a pipeline co reported 8,000gals, you can bet that number will grow exponentially 

Count on 30000 being spilled. Initial estimate of Canadian tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River in 2010 was 800,000 gallons. Revised estimates are 877,000 to 1 million gallons.

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It is typical for pipelines to be laid at the bottom of rivers. However, we have hundreds of pipelines that are getting old. If history tells us anything, the pipelines will be owned by small companies that can go bankrupt and walk away, leaving a mess for taxpayers.

We now buy bottled water that costs more than oil.

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2 hours ago, 李伟王芳 said:

well this is the 19th major spill so far this year and last year we had thirty five of them. Nearly all of them were preventable ....

I wonder how many oil-by-rail railcar derailments with cars breaking up and the contents spilled took place in the same time frame.  Possibly zero?

The folks that dump all over oil-by-rail seem to overlook all those pipeline failure breakages. 

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17 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

I wonder how many oil-by-rail railcar derailments with cars breaking up and the contents spilled took place in the same time frame.  Possibly zero?

The folks that dump all over oil-by-rail seem to overlook all those pipeline failure breakages. 

Good points, Jan.

Question:  Why do pipelines fail/break/leak?  I mean, it seems like a pretty simple setup:  Lay foundations at calculated intervals (above ground) or at the bottom of whole sections of the pipe beds (under ground), lay the pipe, tighten the nuts and bolts or install expansion joints, seal it all up and you're good to go.  Is it because of shifting soils, seismic movement, erosion, sabotage?  Thanks.

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Just now, Dan Warnick said:

Good points, Jan.

Question:  Why do pipelines fail/break/leak?  I mean, it seems like a pretty simple setup:  Lay foundations at calculated intervals (above ground) or at the bottom of whole sections of the pipe beds (under ground), lay the pipe, tighten the nuts and bolts or install expansion joints, seal it all up and you're good to go.  Is it because of shifting soils, seismic movement, erosion, sabotage?  Thanks.

The pipe has to be kept totally free of contact with rocks.  A rock on the bottom will wear a point into the pipe, through the corrosion preventer coating, and start the decay process. So: that pipe has to have the rocks removed from the trench, by hand, a big process.  then you install a layer of gravel, then a bed of coarse sand, who knows what else, personally I would put down a nice thick layer of ground-up old tires and a retainer sheet to prevent migration (beaucoup bucks to do that), and then you lay that pipe in there.  When the crew cuts corners, the trouble starts a decade down the road.  When it finally fails, you have that gooey inconvenient mineral slime all over the place, contaminating everything.  Big problems. 

And, of course, you have to consider galvanic corrosion, and either install zincs, or paint everything with zinc chromate (assuming you can get that past the environmentalists) and whatever else you need to do to stop corrosion attacking the pipe.  Which, if you give it the smallest opportunity, it inexorably will. 

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(edited)

1 hour ago, Jan van Eck said:

The pipe has to be kept totally free of contact with rocks.  A rock on the bottom will wear a point into the pipe, through the corrosion preventer coating, and start the decay process. So: that pipe has to have the rocks removed from the trench, by hand, a big process.  then you install a layer of gravel, then a bed of coarse sand, who knows what else, personally I would put down a nice thick layer of ground-up old tires and a retainer sheet to prevent migration (beaucoup bucks to do that), and then you lay that pipe in there.  When the crew cuts corners, the trouble starts a decade down the road.  When it finally fails, you have that gooey inconvenient mineral slime all over the place, contaminating everything.  Big problems. 

And, of course, you have to consider galvanic corrosion, and either install zincs, or paint everything with zinc chromate (assuming you can get that past the environmentalists) and whatever else you need to do to stop corrosion attacking the pipe.  Which, if you give it the smallest opportunity, it inexorably will. 

Are there any pipeline guys/gals on here who can get a bit deeper than Jan's reasoned answer?  Possibly with a few statistics thrown in for good measure?  Answered by another poster.  (Thanks, Rodi!)

Edited by Dan Warnick

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58 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

I wonder how many oil-by-rail railcar derailments with cars breaking up and the contents spilled took place in the same time frame.  Possibly zero?

 

Apparently, transporting over an aging railway system is a major concern.  In 2014, NBC reported a record number of spills by rail, accounting for a reported loss of 57,000 gallons of crude.  In 2013, the reported losses totaled 1.4 million gallons of crude.

Canada has similar concerns. In 2014 Global News reported that crude oil spills by rail are bigger than those from piplines. 59% of reported accidents occurred during loading/unloading. 

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2 minutes ago, SRC said:

Apparently, transporting over an aging railway system is a major concern.  In 2014, NBC reported a record number of spills by rail, accounting for a reported loss of 57,000 gallons of crude.  In 2013, the reported losses totaled 1.4 million gallons of crude.

Canada has similar concerns. In 2014 Global News reported that crude oil spills by rail are bigger than those from piplines. 59% of reported accidents occurred during loading/unloading. 

I suspect your 2013 figure includes the fiasco at Lac Megantic, Quebec, which took place in Canada but was a US trans-shipment of Bakken crude, taking a rail shortcut.  In that, they lost some 90 railcars of crude, yet most of it burned up. That event was a once-off. 

In any event, I was questioning recent experience, not from five years ago.  

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14 minutes ago, SRC said:

Apparently, transporting over an aging railway system is a major concern.  In 2014, NBC reported a record number of spills by rail, accounting for a reported loss of 57,000 gallons of crude.  In 2013, the reported losses totaled 1.4 million gallons of crude.

Canada has similar concerns. In 2014 Global News reported that crude oil spills by rail are bigger than those from piplines. 59% of reported accidents occurred during loading/unloading. 

Yet look at your quoted article in Global News: a reader posts the following  (Global News is a Canadian newspaper):

 
 
28795222_10156270820669853_2592865711885
 
Lee Vanderwoude
Such a deceptive headline. So the average spill size may be higher from trains, have there been 1050 major train spills since 2001? not even close. largest train spill was 90,000 litres. largest pipeline failure was 1.45 billion. It would take 16000 train incidents to even match 1 of the pipeline incidents let alone 1000 of them.
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12 minutes ago, Rodent said:

Great reference, Rodi.  And the OilPrice article linked within the article is even more informative.  It even sufficiently answers my question about leaks.  Thanks for sharing.

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1 hour ago, Rodent said:

Yet once again, your article is quoting events of 2013.  In July 2013 an entire train of some 90 railcars went up in flames in Lac Megantic.  That distorts all events.  There is nothing in that article, which is biased for pipe, that supports that conclusion when 2013 is excluded. 

Again, if you look at  the total volume of spills from pipe, they dwarf what happens in rail. The typical rail "spill" is some dummy screwing up at the loading platform.  That is not quite a foundation for condemning rail. 

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1 minute ago, Jan van Eck said:

Yet once again, your article is quoting events of 2013.  In July 2013 an entire train of some 90 railcars went up in flames in Lac Megantic.  That distorts all events.  There is nothing in that article, which is biased for pipe, that supports that conclusion when 2013 is excluded. 

Again, if you look at  the total volume of spills from pipe, they dwarf what happens in rail. The typical rail "spill" is some dummy screwing up at the loading platform.  That is not quite a foundation for condemning rail. 

Agree with you, Jan, that the article is skewed, probably to help alleviate political and green opposition to pipelines.  The fact is the United States still moves a tremendous amount of goods by rail, including all sorts of liquids, safely and efficiently.  It would seem to be an excellent method to employ, especially when other methods are lacking.

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4 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

Yet once again, your article is quoting events of 2013.  In July 2013 an entire train of some 90 railcars went up in flames in Lac Megantic.  That distorts all events.  There is nothing in that article, which is biased for pipe, that supports that conclusion when 2013 is excluded. 

Again, if you look at  the total volume of spills from pipe, they dwarf what happens in rail. The typical rail "spill" is some dummy screwing up at the loading platform.  That is not quite a foundation for condemning rail. 

Do we have more recent statistics?

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50 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

I suspect your 2013 figure includes the fiasco at Lac Megantic, Quebec, which took place in Canada but was a US trans-shipment of Bakken crude, taking a rail shortcut.  In that, they lost some 90 railcars of crude, yet most of it burned up. That event was a once-off. 

In any event, I was questioning recent experience, not from five years ago.  

Well, I wish I had that recent data for you, but I am limited to general internet searches of news and government reports.  I believe it a safe bet to extrapolate the data forward and suggest that as oil-by-rail shipments increase, so will the number and size of accidents. 

 

1 hour ago, Jan van Eck said:

Yet look at your quoted article in Global News: a reader posts the following  (Global News is a Canadian newspaper):

 
 
28795222_10156270820669853_2592865711885
 
Lee Vanderwoude
Such a deceptive headline. So the average spill size may be higher from trains, have there been 1050 major train spills since 2001? not even close. largest train spill was 90,000 litres. largest pipeline failure was 1.45 billion. It would take 16000 train incidents to even match 1 of the pipeline incidents let alone 1000 of them.

Seriously?  I have no desire to offer up a rebuttal for a comment made by someone who takes exception to a sensational headline being used in a media report. Again, there is useful data within the article for you to analyze (or not).

2 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

I wonder how many oil-by-rail railcar derailments with cars breaking up and the contents spilled took place in the same time frame.  Possibly zero?

I simply offered the report as a response to your question. I leave it to you to determine the worth and validity of the data provided. 

Hopefully others can help you on your quest for more recent statistics regarding rail accidents.

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(edited)

34 minutes ago, SRC said:

Well, I wish I had that recent data for you, but I am limited to general internet searches of news and government reports.  I believe it a safe bet to extrapolate the data forward and suggest that as oil-by-rail shipments increase, so will the number and size of accidents. 

 

 

OK, fair enough, we forget about the rail worker with his biases.  

Just anecdotally, I keep hearing about nasty oil spills, some in ugly places such as a pipe that lets loose in a river crossing.  That has to be the worst possible place for a big spill.  In these rail wrecks, which are infrequent, the oil tends to catch fire and burn up, not whoosh out into the ground or the waterway.  OK, burning releases fumes and so forth, but it is a lot less damage than oil in the waterway.  Those concerns prompted my musings.  Cheers.

Edited by Jan van Eck
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39 minutes ago, Rodent said:

Do we have more recent statistics?

Apparently not, at least, not readily available.  

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40 minutes ago, Dan Warnick said:

Agree with you, Jan, that the article is skewed, probably to help alleviate political and green opposition to pipelines.  The fact is the United States still moves a tremendous amount of goods by rail, including all sorts of liquids, safely and efficiently.  It would seem to be an excellent method to employ, especially when other methods are lacking.

Also, let's keep in mind that the problems in OBR seem to be clustered around Class II railroads, the so-called "short lines" that used to be part of the big trunk carriers but got spun off as lightly-used lines.  You don't see these wrecks on mainline Class I rail, where the track is much better maintained, to much higher standards. 

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In the focus of pipeline vs. oil-by-rail  (OBR), let's try to focus on what OBR really is.  

OBR is, in effect, a very large-diameter pipeline on the surface, but instead of massive pumps and oil heating systems to move the product, the oil itself stays stationary inside the pipe, and the pipe itself moves, on rail.  Instead of using vast amounts of power to move oil, the oil is pulled along by diesel locomotives, using but a small fraction of horsepower.  Instead of a maximum speed under optimal conditions of 15 mph, the OBR merrily rolls along at 45 or 50 mph. 

And the rail pipe is massively large,  An oil pipeline has a diameter of about 4 ft.  A railcar cross section is eight feet, thus it handles well over four times the volume of pipe, and at a speed easily three times as high, with less frictional resistance, at lower costs of power to move the product.  This is what a "rail pipeline" looks like:

image.png.29c754ae3a4d204a4729c7668b26967f.png

You can run these oil trains with a seven-minute headway, so one single-track rail line can move nine trains per hour past a fixed point, and it becomes apparent that a rail line can move much more oil than a pipeline, simply because of the larger "diameter" of the OBR  tanker car, and the speeds at which the OBR product moves. 

And, you don't need to go tussle with the native-american (or native-Canadian) tribes of militants that want to kick your buried pipe off their reservations.  They don't have the ability to oppose a railroad track.  So your capacity infrastructure goes up much faster!

(Can you build an eight-foot diameter pipeline, with the product pumped through at 45 mph?  Not bloody likely.)

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