Pipeline operators perform preventative maintenance on their pipelines to address potential issues before they become safety problems.
Pipeline operators proactively inspect their pipelines on regular schedules looking for any potential issues and ensuring the pipe remains safe.
Inspection results will confirm a clean bill of health, diagnose a potential problem or help prescribe maintenance to correct the issue. Being proactive allows pipeline operators to find and fix issues before they become a problem.
Pipeline operators use high-tech devices to scan their pipelines for potential issues.
Inspection tools called “smart pigs” travel inside the pipe scanning the pipe wall for signs of dents, corrosion or possible cracking. Smart pigs use technology similar to an ultrasound or an MRI found at a doctor's office. Sophisticated digital analysis will allows the operator to review the inspection data and predict when the pipe will need maintenance.
Pipeline operators perform preventative maintenance on their pipes to address potential issues before they become a problem.
For example, a "smart pig" inspection may tell a pipeline operator a small amount of corrosion is starting to form on the pipe. It does not yet pose a problem for the pipe, but needs maintenance to remove and keep the pipe in safe condition. Pipeline companies perform thousands of integrity digs each year to visually inspect and, if needed, repair sections of pipe.
Pipeline operators monitor their pipelines from a central control center 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Specially trained controllers keep a watchful eye over systems monitoring pipeline pressure, flow and volume. Operator personnel patrol along the pipeline route and personnel in airplanes or helicopters travel overhead the length of the pipeline on a regular schedule looking for signs of leaks. Pipeline operators can quickly shut down a pipeline if monitoring technology suspects a leak. From their central control centers, pipeline operators will remotely stop pumps and close isolation valves. Pipeline control personnel are trained to shut down their systems, diagnose whether an alarm is showing a leak, and not restart until personnel determine the pipeline is operating safely.
Many types of trainings are available to first responders. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, for example, offers public education, professional development training, and technical training to public safety volunteers from state government to local communities across the commonwealth.
Some pipeline operators offer their own tabletop trainings, such as the Mariner Emergency Responder Outreach (MERO) Program along the Mariner East 1 and 2 pipelines. Developed in 2013, the MERO program has educated more than 2,000 first responders and public officials in Pennsylvania.
The Mariner Emergency Responder Outreach (MERO) program has hosted specialized training sessions for more than 2,000 first responders in the Pennsylvania communities where the Energy Transfer Mariner pipelines operate.
The Delaware County Department of Emergency Services and the Delaware County Local Emergency Planning Committee held a pipeline exercise attended by 141 people, including 15 Delaware County municipalities, the Dept. of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard, FBI, PA State Police, PEMA, local officials, and seven pipeline operators.