The natural gas gathering Revolution Pipeline in Western Pennsylvania has been cleared to restart service after operator ETC Northeast Pipeline LLC reached a settlement with the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) addressing safety concerns over slope stability.
The settlement, a consent order and agreement that requires ETC to pay a $125,000 civil penalty, allows the 40.5-mile pipeline to return to service more than two years after a landslide in Center Township, Beaver County, caused the line to rupture and explode.
In November, the DEP ordered ETC not to fill Revolution with natural gas because of concerns over sections of the pipeline located on unstable slopes. ETC subsequently submitted a revised plan that included steps for safely emptying the pipeline in the event of a leak, release or “catastrophic incident” such as a landslide.
The latest agreement requires ETC to take corrective actions including construction to address drainage problems and continuous monitoring of steep slopes.
The agency said it has documented “numerous unstable slopes” along the pipeline route and that “numerous landslides” have occurred, including the September 2018 rupture in Beaver County.
The pipeline was being packed with natural gas and brought online only days before the explosion, when unusually wet weather was blamed for the landslide that caused it to separate. The incident scorched nearby forests, destroyed a home, barn and vehicles, and caused six high voltage electric transmission towers to collapse. There were no injuries. ETC later agreed to pay a $30.6 million fine related to the 2018 incident.
The Revolution system crosses Butler, Beaver, Allegheny and Washington counties in Pennsylvania. It’s designed to move 400 MMcf/d from production fields in Butler County to a processing facility in Washington County.
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