48,400 Miles of Aging U.S Pipelines ‘Harbour Cracks, Dangerous Defects’
Two years after an ExxonMobil pipeline spilled in Mayflower, Arkansas, the United States still has 48,400 miles of aging pipe “that can harbour cracks and other dangerous defects,” reporter Elizabeth Douglass reports on InsideClimate News.
“Federal regulators have known for decades that vintage pipe carried extra risks. After a spate of new spills, however, they recently took the first step toward mandating more rigorous testing on pre-1970 pipe,” Douglass writes.
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In Mayflower, “the failed section of ExxonMobil’s Pegasus line was manufactured in the 1940s using low-frequency electric resistance welding (LF-ERW), a process that was widely used from the 1930s into the 1960s,” she explains. “The technique was phased out by 1970 because it left flaws in the steel that could cause pipelines to split open along the lengthwise seams.”
InsideClimate News lists Magellan Pipeline, Phillips 66 Pipeline, Buckeye Partners, ExxonMobil, and Enterprise Products as the five companies with the most LF-ERW pipe carrying oil or other hazardous liquids.