Water line break & corrosion a headache for Tucson Water

Aging water lines are a problem for Tucson Water. They often break causing big headaches.

But what happens when lines that are relatively new break. Solving that problem goes from headache to migraine.

A 24 inch line broke in front of Miller Elementary School at Camino de la Tierra and Avenida de Isabel. Because it was not a service line, homeowners and the school were not affected. Everyone still has water flowing into their homes.

But the biggest problem is trying to determine what a line that was installed in 1981 sprung a leak. A cast iron pipe like that should last 50 to 80 years at least. Turns out soil corrosion might have caused the line to fail. It could also be an electrochemical phenomenon.

What is known, there are some very large holes on the bottom of an eight foot section taken out of the ground.

An inspection of other pipes leading into homes in the area also showed the same type of corrosion.

The city will use camera’s to try to determine just how much of the pipe needs to be replaced. It will send a camera several hundred feet in both directions to see if corrosion may have weakened other parts as well.

So what started out to be a routine repair job may be long and complicated. The Water Department has identified $131 million in water line repairs that need to be done.

In the meantime, the water department had an early warning system in place which sends out alerts when a line is deteriorating.

The system worked a few weeks ago when workers were alerted to a weakening 42 inch line on Columbus Avenue and Grant.

It would have been a catastrophic event had it burst.

Workers are now repairing damage to the line.

SOURCE: http://www.kold.com/story/16148949/water-line-break-a-headache-for-workers

Alyeska agrees to $600,000 penalty to settle federal cases

The operator of the trans-Alaska pipeline has reached a settlement with federal regulators to resolve four enforcement cases dating back to 2006.

Under the deal, Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. will pay a civil penalty of $600,000, which represents a considerable savings over the sum of penalties the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration had originally proposed.

Michael Joynor, Alyeska’s senior vice president of operations, and Jeffrey Wiese, PHMSA’s associate administrator for pipeline safety, signed off on the “compromise agreement” on Nov. 15 and 16, respectively.

As part of the deal, Alyeska agreed to drop a federal lawsuit it had filed against the agency challenging a fine imposed in one of the enforcement cases.

Alyeska is the Anchorage-based consortium that runs the 800-mile trans-Alaska oil pipeline on behalf of owners BP, Conoco Phillips, Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Koch Industries.

The seven-page settlement notes that Alyeska and PHMSA agreed the settlement will avoid further administrative proceedings or litigation.

Aside from the $600,000 civil penalty, Alyeska also “must develop and implement a risk-based atmospheric corrosion control program for TAPS,” the trans-Alaska pipeline system, the settlement says. PHMSA, in 2008, said Alyeska had failed to produce records for required atmospheric corrosion inspections in locations such as vaults and below-ground piping corridors where regulators found water. The deal also calls for Alyeska to take other “corrective actions.”

The settlement resolves four enforcement cases that PHMSA had opened against Alyeska in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

All totaled, Alyeska was facing fines of $1,293,800 in the four cases, including $263,000 the company paid in 2010.

Alyeska was facing its largest fine, $817,000, under a case brought in 2007.

PHMSA, in that case, issued Alyeska a notice of probable violation for “at least three pipeline failures of TAPS.”

The alleged failures included a fire in the containment area of a crude oil storage tank at Pump Station 9 in which a portable heater ignited escaping oil vapors; a 900-gallon oil spill at a valve along the pipeline; and a failed operation involving a “scraper pig,” which is a device used to clean the inside of a pipe.

PHMSA said the failures raised “cause for concern regarding the operational integrity of TAPS.”

Among other criticisms, the agency said Alyeska failed to properly report the fire and failed to follow its corporate safety manual, which requires keeping portable industrial heaters at least 25 feet from any oil, gas or electric process facility.

In 2006, PHMSA issued Alyeska a notice of probable violation and, after a hearing held at the company’s request, issued a final order much later, in January 2010, assessing total penalties of $263,000.

PHMSA alleged Alyeska committed two violations of pipeline safety regulations. First, it was too slow to obtain a vendor’s full report on a 2004 pig run to test for corrosion or other hazards on the pipeline, the agency said. Second, Alyeska failed to promptly repair a damaged segment of buried pipe near Mile 546, PHMSA said.

In August 2010, after paying the $263,000, Alyeska sued PHMSA in Alaska federal court, arguing among other things that the fine was excessive.

As a result of the settlement with PHMSA, Alyeska’s lawyers on Nov. 17 filed papers to have the suit dismissed.

In 2008, PHMSA issued a notice of probable violation to Alyeska, proposing a civil penalty of $170,000.

The agency said inspections along the pipeline, including at road crossings, turned up deficiencies in the company’s efforts to prevent corrosion. The case questioned Alyeska’s vigilance in using a corrosion-fighting technique known as cathodic protection, and also faulted the company’s record-keeping.

The fourth case covered under the settlement was brought against Alyeska in April 2009, when PHMSA issued a notice of probable violation to the company with a proposed civil penalty of $43,800.

The notice said that during an inspection, a flange was found to be inadequate for handling surge pressure at Pump Station 3, allowing the release of oil onto the station floor.

Under the settlement, however, PHMSA withdrew the safety allegation regarding the flange.

The $600,000 civil penalty specified under the settlement stems from only two of the four cases involved: the 2007 case and the 2008 case.

“We worked with PHMSA for several months to reach agreement,” Alyeska spokeswoman Michelle Egan told Petroleum News. She said the deal closes “all open matters” with the agency.

Read more: http://www.adn.com/2011/11/26/2190471/alyeska-agrees-to-600000-fine.html#ixzz1eyMWK79T

Stopping Corrosion in our Harbors – Duluth/Superior Harbor

Every ship that passes under the Duluth/Superior harbor lift bridge is a sign of a healthy, working, international port. but for this to exist, requires steel. Nearly 14-miles of underwater metal.

Loading facilities, docks and shorelines, the shipping canals; the very foundation of industry here is built on an underwater steel infrastructure. But it’s corroding, and failing.

It’s falling victim to an aggressive form of fresh water corrosion.

Chad Scott is with an engineering company based in Superior. He first discovered the unique form of corrosion back in 1998 and brought it to the attention of the scientific community.

Today, his focus has turned to helping repair the harbor and protect it from further damage.

“There were a couple of projects in the harbor we were called to inspect that had already completely failed. They had gotten so thin and with the forces on them, the steel actually bent so you can’t repair it at that point,” Scott said.

Replacing all the steel in the harbor would be a monumental task, taking years and costing hundreds of millions of dollars. But does it all have to be replaced? Not necessarily, if the corrosion is caught early enough.

It also depends on individual docks. There are some docks that have actually commenced replacement projects and there are other ones that have gone through protective procedures.

Good news for the port, because it owns such a large amount of steel shoreline. Last summer they repaired this entire dock line, a $6 million fix.

From federal to local, that effort includes UMD’s Biology Department, and Dean Dr. Randall Hicks. Dr. Hicks says it’s a multi-agency battle because there are global implications.

“Corrosion is a major problem world-wide. it’s responsible for huge economic losses and there’s a lot of effort put in to try and prevent corrosion, even on your cars with better primers and paints. The problem is in a harbor you have steel that’s submerged and it’s very expensive to replace it or to mitigate the problem.”

Dr. Hicks said we are beginning to understand the problem. But in order to find real, long term solutions, additional research needs to be done. and research takes money.

“We are doing our best to gather as much information as we can so we can keep the study moving forward. But without additional funding it’s not going to go forward.”

The short term goal is to save the steel that can still be saved. Long term, researchers hope new alloys and materials will be developed for future construction that can stand up to this aggressive corrosion.

Divers have been measuring corrosion rates over the last two years, both in and outside the harbor. It’s research that may not only help us, but ports around the world.

SOURCE: http://www.wdio.com/article/stories/S2378127.shtml?cat=10335

U.S Rep. Kucinich seeks NRC hearing about cracks at Davis-Besse

U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D., Cleveland) asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Monday to hold a public hearing on the cracks in the concrete containment building at the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant 10 miles west of Port Clinton.

In a letter to the chairman of the agency, Mr. Kucinich disputed FirstEnergy’s description of the cracks as “hairline” and as limited to decorative concrete. He said the cracks appear to follow the line of the reinforcing bar, are clearly visible, and run for 30 feet.

He said the cracks could be laid to “concrete carbonation,” the seepage of carbon dioxide through concrete allowing for the corrosion of steel reinforcing bars.

The cracking “seems to indicate a widespread problem that will undermine the structural integrity of the shield building,” Mr. Kucinich wrote to Gregory Jaczko, chairman of the agency.

Mr. Kucinich asked the agency to conduct a public hearing on the cracks before FirstEnergy is allowed to power up the reactor.

A FirstEnergy spokesman said the company has a “root cause team” looking at the problem but that carbonation appears not to be an issue.

“Our testing on a number of concrete samples showed no carbonation on any of the crack surfaces of those that we tested, and [from] our inspections of the rebar, the rebar looks very good and healthy. There was no corrosion of the re-bar,” said spokesman Jennifer Young.

“[Mr. Kucinich’s] letter suggested we weren’t telling the full story. I don’t believe that to be the case. The NRC understands everything we’ve looked at,” Ms. Young said.

She said there are no plans for a hearing and that FirstEnergy continues to work on the crack issue as part of its regular outage. FirstEnergy is shooting for restarting the plant around the end of the month.

The cracks were discovered after a hole was cut in the outer shield building to install a new reactor head. FirstEnergy has submitted to the NRC its finding that the cracks are not a safety hazard and is following up by submitting technical reports to the commission in response to its questions about the matter.

SOURCE: http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2011/11/22/Kucinich-seeks-NRC-hearing-about-cracks-at-Davis-Besse-2.html

Port Explosion Report Reveals Tank Corrosion “Easily” Detectable

An investigation into the cause of a Gibraltar port explosion last May has uncovered a litany of alleged physical faults and management shortfalls at the sullage plant operated by Nature Port Reception Facilities [Nature], including claims that storage tanks were heavily corroded and badly maintained.

Investigators from specialist company Capita Symonds attributed the explosion to holes in the roof of tanks used to store petroleum products, which allowed highly flammable vapor to escape.

The tank rooftops were dotted with 60 perforations caused by long term corrosion, the investigation found.

Two men welding on top of one of the tanks caused the vapor to ignite, resulting in the explosion.

The investigators also found evidence that, in their view, suggested serious flaws in the way the plant was operated.

They described “significant departures” from good health and safety procedures in a facility of this type, with management policies and procedures lacking sufficient detail.

“In the light of these findings, the suspension of Nature Port’s licence will not be lifted until a final decision is taken with regard to that licence after due process has been followed and all the material facts and issues considered,” the Gibraltar Government, which commissioned the investigation, said in a statement.

“The deficiencies, failings and shortcomings found in the report, and the extent to which they may have been remedied or be capable of remedy are material factors.”

The investigations undertaken by Capita Symonds examined the causes of the incident, the adequacy of the plant operator’s management systems and health and safety and accident management procedures and plans, and the condition of the tanks and plant.


The investigation found evidence that although the poor physical condition of the tanks was noted in 2008 during a survey by a local structural and engineering company, repairs had not been carried out.

The 2008 inspection also recommended annual surveys to ensure the structural integrity of the tanks but the investigators said they found no evidence that Nature had acted on the advice.

David Hughes, a health and safety consultant who formed part of the Capita Symonds team, wrote that “…, from routine inspection by a competent surveyor, any potentially affected areas should be easily detected and repaired by suitable means.”

“The areas on the two tank roofs will have been affected by corrosion and perforations which would have been visible many years prior to the incident of 31 May 2011, and thus readily discoverable by routine survey.”

Mr Hughes also noted that the plant was licensed to operate by the Environment Agency but that there was no evidence that the agency regularly inspected the facility.

The investigator found that even though the repairs to the tanks recommended in 2008 had not been carried out, Nature was granted a petroleum licence in November 2009 allowing it to handle products with a very low flashpoint.

Read More – SOURCE: http://www.chronicle.gi/headlines_details.php?id=23266

Indian nuclear reactor exposed to risk of corrosion

The stagnant coolant water in the reactor vessel and pipes in the first unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) is giving sleepless nights to scientists and engineers who say the risk of damage to the equipment is increasing each day.

“Water has to be circulating so that the components are not exposed to the risk of corrosion. However, the quality of stagnant water will deteriorate over a period of time, which in turn poses a risk to the reactor components like the primary pipes and the reactor vessel,” said a KNPP official preferring anonymity.

Project work since October has come to a standstill with intensifying protests by villagers on grounds of safety. Roads have been blocked and the local administration has advised the KNPP staff to sit tight inside their homes, fearing violence.

“It is the demineralised water – water in pure form – which is fed into the systems. However, to maintain its purity the water should be circulated as stagnant water will interact with the metal surface and quality will change,” said K S Parthasarathy, former chairman of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).

Parthasarathy said there would be a water chemistry group to look at the quality of water used in reactors.

“Water is a hostile fluid. It is not desirable to have stagnant water inside a reactor. However, it is not a serious issue as the number of days that the water remains stagnant is comparatively low,” Parthasarathy added.

“Maintaining the purity of stagnant water is an issue that is facing us. We are not able to check the chemistry of the water that is inside the power plant,” said an NPCIL official.

The helpless officials confined to their homes for nearly a month are hoping that there is no major damage to the reactor components resulting in further delays to the project.

“The systems cannot be stopped and restarted. Decommissioning a reactor is different as one need not bother about the damages the systems would undergo after the plant is stopped,” said the official, who spoke demanding anonymity.

On September 22, the Tamil Nadu government passed a resolution urging Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Central government to halt work at Kudankulam till the fear of the people were allayed.

SOURCE: http://ibnlive.in.com/news/kudankulam-reactor-exposed-to-risk-of-corrosion/200806-3.html

MATCOR receives two prestigious awards from the National Safety Council

MATCOR receives two prestigious awards from the National Safety Council

November 16, 2010 (Doylestown, PA) – MATCOR®, Inc. a full-service provider of proprietary cathodic protection products, systems, and corrosion engineering solutions announced today it has become the proud recipient of two highly regarded awards from the National Safety Council.

Safety and Compliance Manager, Rebecca Haring said ‘These National Safety Council awards recognize the lengthy period during which MATCOR employees went home without injury or illness caused in the workplace. We’re very proud of our safety record.”

National Safety Council
The two awards were presented to MATCOR at the National Safety Council’s Occupational Awards Ceremony.

The two awards were presented to MATCOR at the National Safety Council’s Occupational Awards Ceremony at the Philadelphia Convention Center on Tuesday, November 1, 2011.

The first award recognizes MATCOR’s Perfect Record where all units and/or facilities completed a period of at least twelve consecutive months without incurring an occupational injury or illness that resulted in days away from work or death.  MATCOR earned the award by working in excess of 293,030 employee hours.

As a result of earning the Perfect Record Award, MATCOR was recognized with another award for Exceptional Safety Performance in the Workplace.  The National Safety Council saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads through leadership, research, education and advocacy.  MATCOR has been an active member of the National Safety Council since 2008.

MATCOR, Inc. is a leading cathodic protection and corrosion prevention engineering design firm, providing environmentally beneficial systems and services to global clients for nearly 40 years. An expert in the field of cathodic protection, MATCOR offers proprietary corrosion protection products, installation, cathodic protection testing, maintenance and complete corrosion protection project management. MATCOR specializes in protecting the infrastructure of the oil and gas, electric utility, transportation and other infrastructure industries. 
To learn more about MATCOR, visit the new website at matcor.com or call 800 523 6692.

Tests to Begin on Santa Monica’s Chain Reaction Sculpture

Five months after Santa Monica fenced off the Civic Center’s chain reaction sculpture, a team of structural engineers next week will begin performing tests to make sure the 26-foot-tall iconic art work made of chain link is structurally sound.

Experts will inspect the internal armature for corrosion or other problems and lab tests will be conducted on fiberglass and concrete samples, as well as on the chain segments that clad the sculpture and their fasteners, City officials said.

Before the inspection and testing, conservators will “carefully document and catalog the segments of chains in the selected sample areas, then they will carefully cut out the area designated as the entry point for the internal inspection,” officials said.

The testing comes after a “highly skilled team of professionals” devised a plan to “gather adequate information while doing everything possible to preserve the integrity of this important work of art,” officials said.

Concerns that the monumental public sculpture of a nuclear mushroom cloud by Pulitzer-prize-winning cartoonist Paul Conrad could pose safety issues surfaced in June, when City building officer Ron Takiguchi saw children climbing the 20-year-old sculpture.

Takiguchi found that “many of the fasteners which attach the copper tubing chain to the fiberglass core are missing or not fully imbedded, and some exhibit severe corrosion,” the statement said.

Made of copper tubing over a fiberglass core, the sculpture’s internal frame is made of stainless steel and rests on a concrete base.

City officials them hired experts to research the fabrication of the work who interviewed a number of the people who originally worked on the sculpture and notified the artist’s family.

After the tests are completed the City will develop a plan for the future of the work, which was a gift to the City that was narrowly approved by City Council by a 4 to 3 in 1990 after two years of public process and debate.

The work, which was initially turned down by the Beverly Hills Fine Arts Commission, was funded by a private donation to the Santa Monica Arts Foundation.

SOURCE: http://www.surfsantamonica.com/ssm_site/the_lookout/news/News-2011/November-2011/11_15_2011_Tests_Begin_on_Santa_Monicas_Chain_Reaction_Sculpture.html

Inspection showed Mercier Bridge corrosion trouble in 2006

Five years before Quebec closed part of the Mercier Bridge due to dangerously deteriorating steel plates on the span’s provincial side, an inspection found plates on the federal side were corroding and had to be replaced.

The report said repairing the plates – steel connectors that hold together the bridge’s girders and beams – should be a top priority.

“These gusset plates play a major role in the integrity of the bridge structure,” the report stated. “Therefore, the progress of corrosion at these plates must be monitored, and, if necessary, a capacity assessment should be done to evaluate more accurately the behavior of the material affected by the corrosion.”

The inspections were commissioned by Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Inc., which owns the federal side of the Mercier.

Ottawa reinforced about 50 gussets in 2008, replacing two and repairing the rest. Meanwhile, Quebec, long criticized for neglecting transportation infrastructure, decided not to do work on its gussets.

The Mercier’s federal half was built in the late 1950s, while the provincial part that was closed for gusset repairs went up in the early 1930s.

The 2006 report, by an engineering firm, paints a troubling picture of the Mercier at the time.

For example, it warns the bridge’s side curbs and median were so deteriorated that cars that accidentally plowed into them could be launched into oncoming traffic or off the bridge.

Follow-up federal inspections in 2007, 2008 and 2009 also disclosed in response to the access-to-info request, found that repairs helped improve the overall condition of the bridge’s federal half.

The disclosure that federal officials were advised about gusset deterioration as early as 2006 is another indication Transport Quebec may have missed crucial corrosion on the provincial side.

If the deterioration had been caught earlier, traffic disruptions that affected tens of thousands of commuters during the Mercier closing could have been avoided.

To fix its gusset plates, Transport Quebec closed two of the Mercier’s four lanes on June 14. One of the closed lanes reopened Sept. 6. But, to allow for ongoing gusset work, the bridge still goes down to two lanes overnight and on weekends. All four lanes are to be permanently reopened by December.

This summer, Quebec initially refused to make public the inspection of its side of the Mercier, finally relenting in September under pressure from the public, engineers, politicians and the media.

In September, Transport Minister Pierre Moreau said provincial plates deteriorated “at a faster rate than what was expected” and the damage could not have been caught earlier.

Independent engineers question this version of events, noting corrosion does not speed up.

The 2006 inspection report recommended 37 repairs, nine of which were classified as “A” priority jobs, meaning they were “necessary to maintain the integrity of the system’s structure and of its auxiliary components.”

The first item on the list of top-priority repairs: gusset plates, which, the report said, should be reinforced by 2010.

The report recommended close to $32 million in federal repairs.

The $74-million federal expenditure is part of a $174-million Mercier overhaul that Ottawa and Quebec began in 2008 and that is to be completed by 2014. Quebec has not said how much it has spent on the project so far.

The 2006 federal inspection was the last general inspection of the bridge.

SOURCE: http://www.montrealgazette.com/Inspection+showed+Mercier+Bridge+trouble+2006/5693667/story.html#ixzz1dnwJT1yO


Pennsylvania Public Utility posts new rules for replacing aging pipelines

Noting the Feb. 9 natural gas explosion that killed five Allentown residents, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission last week proposed requiring gas utilities to file plans outlining how much aging underground pipelines leak and when the utilities intend to replace them.

The PUC unanimously agreed without discussion to seek comments on the proposal, which was developed in light of “recent tragic incidents” as well as the growth of Marcellus Shale natural gas wells and changing federal gas safety regulations, a PUC statement said. Comments can be filed with the PUC up to Dec. 2.

“These plans will tentatively be required to include infrastructure replacement time frames and a proposal for the means by which the cost of the infrastructure replacement program should be addressed in rates,” PUC Chairman Robert F. Powelson and Vice Chairman John F. Coleman Jr. said in joint statement.

Under the proposal, utilities would have to file pipeline replacement and performance plans. The plans should include a time frame for replacing aging pipelines and performance standards that include damage prevention, corrosion control and distribution system leaks, it said. Utilities would have to file plans next spring or summer, with final approval by the PUC late next year or early 2013.

Replacing old lines became a higher priority for Allentown on Feb. 9, after a pipeline owned by UGI Utilities installed in 1928 leaked, leading to the fatal blast at 13th and Allen streets. After the explosion, UGI released a plan showing it intended to replace six miles of old cast-iron pipeline in Allentown, more than doubling what it did in 2010. As of earlier this year, Allentown had 79 miles of cast-iron natural gas pipe beneath its streets and about 230 total in the Lehigh Valley.

UGI officials Thursday had not had an opportunity to consider the PUC’s action, said Daniel Adamo, business development director. “UGI will completely review the tentative order and will plan to comment by the deadline,” he said. “We believe it is our responsibility to safely deliver natural gas to our customers,” he added.

The commission action also requires gas utilities to provide distribution integrity management program plans, which are required by the federal government, with the PUC by Nov. 30. In 2009, the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued new regulations that required gas distribution companies, such as UGI, to adopt written plans for continuous review of data to identify threats to pipeline systems, evaluating risks, and implementing measures to reduce risks.

As part of its proposed regulations, the PUC also plans to mandate “frost surveys,” which are leak surveys that utilities perform during cold weather months. The regulation would require frost surveys from Nov. 1 to April 30 each year. Previously, the PUC asked, but hadn’t mandated, frost surveys.

The leak surveys are to be conducted weekly or monthly, depending on the location and size of the line, the PUC said. The utilities would be required to report all leaks every other week and provide a schedule for repairing them, it said.

SOURCE: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-pennsylvania-puc-gas-pipeline-safety-20111110,0,1755685.story