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National Transportation Safety Board Pipeline Special Investigation Report: Evaluation of Pipeline Failures During Flooding and of Spill Response Actions, San Jacinto River Near Houston Texas, October 1994
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  • Abstract:
    In mid-October 1994, major flooding occurred in the San Jacinto River flood plain near Houston, Texas. Due to the flooding, 8 pipelines ruptured and many others were undermined. Ignition of petroleum and petroleum products released into the river resulted in 574 people receiving (mostly minor) burn and inhalation injuries. The Safety Board undertook a special investigation that focused on the following safety issues: 1) the adequacy of Federal and industry standards on designing pipelines in flood plains; 2) the preparedness of pipeline operators to respond to threats to their pipelines from flooding and to minimize the potential for product releases; and, 3) the preparedness of the nation to minimize the consequences of petroleum releases. The report also addresses the need for effective operational monitoring of pipelines and for the use of remote- or automatic-operated valves to allow for prompt detection of product releases and rapid shutdown of failed pipe segments.
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