Following is a condensed summary of talking points prepared for Plains representatives Patrick Hodgins and Rick McMichael in connection with news conference held on May 25, 2015 at 2 pm:
Recovery Effort Updates
Source: Rick McMichael, Senior Director of Operations, Plains All American Pipeline
Plains continues to make progress in all five of the work zones in the recovery area: the release site, the culvert area, the bluffs, the beach and the water.
At the Release Site, the work has been focused on removing oiled soil and preparing for the eventual extraction of the affected segment of pipe. We have made progress on removing the soil adjacent to the immediate area of the release – more than 2,600 cubic yards have been removed. This oiled soil has been placed in approximately 170 bins, which will be moved and temporarily stored in a secure offsite facility for further evaluation.
PHMSA and Unified Command are reviewing the work plan to remove the affected portion of the pipe, and we anticipate starting the process within the next 24 hours.
In the culvert zone, responders have completed an initial cleaning of the culvert, from the release site to the southbound lanes of the 101. We will continue these cleanup efforts as needed.
In the bluffs zone, the area west of the southbound 101, the Unified Command is finalizing a plan to begin cleanup work.
On the beach, workers continue to manually clean oil from the cliff face and large stationary rocks. They also are collecting oiled seaweed and kelp from the shoreline.
On the water, there have 16 vessels in operation and absorbent boom is being utilized to capture any remaining sheen.
Source: Patrick Hodgins, Senior Director of Safety & Security, Plains All American Pipeline
Plains’ rigorous integrity management program has been designed along federal guidelines and is regularly reviewed by the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, or PHMSA. The program focuses on ensuring the pipelines are operated along these guidelines and industry standards and are constantly monitored, regularly inspected and repaired as required.
To inspect our pipelines, a third-party expert runs an inline inspection tool, known as a smart pig, through the pipe. These tools return data that typically requires months of analysis to generate actionable findings. In many cases, we conduct confirmation digs to correlate the information from the inline inspection tool with the condition of the pipe below the surface. In the industry, we refer to this proactive maintenance activity as “pigs and digs.”
Plains ran an inline inspection tool on Line 901 in early May 2015. In the preliminary analysis of this tool run, the third-party expert performed an initial review of the data gathered to determine whether there are any indications worthy of further analysis, calibration or investigation.
Although the final report is still being developed, we requested and received an expedited preliminary inspection report to determine if there are any areas that need investigating prior to emptying the remaining oil in the line. Based on this rough cut of the data and in accordance with our company’s integrity management plan, we identified four locations on Line 901 that we plan to investigate as part of our customary procedures.
Although you may see workers elsewhere along the pipeline, this work is unrelated to the current efforts to excavate and repair the pipeline at the release location. Rather, these efforts are part of our continuous preventative maintenance program following our integrity management procedures and not part of the emergency response to the crude oil release.