Tag Archives: PHMSA

WCTV on AGL pipeline Homerville coffee shop explosion and proposed GA-PSC fines 2019-04-04

How about some accountability for regulations already in place, starting with legally-required corporate policies and procedures?

Emma Wheeler, WCTV Eyewitness News, State: Gas company failures led up to Homerville explosion,

[Empty lot]
WCTV’s Emma Wheeler reporting from the empty lot where Coffee Corner used to be in Homverville, GA

The Public Service Commission is proposing a civil penalty of $2.3 million against Atlanta Gas Light for the violations.

[GA-PSC says AGL did not shut off the gas]
GA-PSC says AGL did not shut off the gas

Suwannee Riverkeeper John Quarterman lives near the start of the pipeline. He said he was horrified by the report, and fears that this could happen anywhere along its path.

[

Continue reading

AGL report to PHMSA about Homerville, GA explosion, 2019-09-17

AGL’s report to PHMSA was so lacking that PHMSA added this comment box:

Please confirm these
injuries involved in-patient
overnight hospitalization.

Atlanta Gas Light (AGL) did mention hospitalization in its narrative on the last page, but even there did not use the terms “in-patient” or “overnight”, much less “third-degree burns” or “airlifted to the burn unit at Shands in Gainseville, Florida”.

[Please confirm these injuries involved in-patient overnight hospitalization.]
Please confirm these injuries involved in-patient overnight hospitalization.

But PHMSA’s comment is mild compared to GA-PSC staff’s more than $2 mllion recommended fine for “failure to properly investigate the damage which led to this explosion”. See previous WWALS blog post for that and other GA-PSC staff comments on this AGL Incident Report – Gas Distribution System to the U.S Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Agency (PHMSA), including:

Continue reading

AGL could face millions for blast 2019-04-03

On the front page of the newspaper of record in the biggest city in the Suwannee River Basin, yesterday in the Valdosta Daily Times, is a story by Terry Richards about the GA-PSC report on the AGL pipeline and the August 2018 Homerville, GA explosion that destroyed a coffeeshop and sent three women to the hospital with third-degree burns.

[Front Page]

The VDT did a bit of reporting by contacting AGL and its contractor: Continue reading

GA-PSC report on AGL pipeline and Homerville August 2017 2018 explosion 2019-03-29

Update 2019-04-04: Actually the gas did go through a sewer pipe; AGL didn’t locate or mark that pipe, either. And the GA-PSC report was on the front page yesterday of the newspaper of the largest city in the Suwannee River Basin.

Maybe the gas didn’t go up a sewer pipe to the coffee shop after all. And in its long-awaited report, Pipeline Safety at the Georgia Public Service Commission is not letting AGL hand the blame to its contractors. This recommended fine does not look like the previous slap on the wrist.

[Filed]

GA-PSC says AGL failed to locate and mark its pipeline in use and failed to locate “their abandoned natural gas facility at 107 Courtland Ave.,” which is the address of the Coffee Corner which blew up in August 2017 2018 and sent three women to the hospital with third-degree burns.

The report gets worse:

PROBABLE VIOLATION: AGLC failed to consider the use of a valve to stop the flow of gas, or to check the surrounding buildings and confined areas, during the response to this incident, as required by their procedures.

But those are just in the first two items, which only got a $15,000 recommended fine each. The same $15,000 level of fine is recommended for AGL’s failures to test its personnel for drug or alcohol after the incident.

The big item, with a $2,245,000 fine, is for AGL failing Continue reading

FERC rubberstamped Suwannee M&R Station and Sabal Trail already built it 2019-02-11

FERC took less than a week to rubberstamp Sabal Trail’s first of February request, and Sabal Trail took less than a week after that to put the Metering and Regulation Station in service, connecting to Florida Gas Transmission in Suwannee County, Florida, onwards under the proposed phosphate mine site in Union and Bradford Counties, to Jacksonville, where Eagle LNG and Crowley Maritime’s Carib Energy are already sending LNG at least as far as Puerto Rico. Do the “applicable remaining terms and conditions of the Orders” include not leaking, like Sabal Trail already did at its nearby compressor station?

[3.4 miles, Hildreth Compressor Station to Suwannee M&R]
3.4 miles, Hildreth Compressor Station to Suwannee M&R; see also Google map.

Four months later, GA-PSC still investigating AGL pipeline Homervile explosion 2018-12-11

Two more months have passed, so I called Bill Edge to ask about progress on the GA-PSC’s investigation of the August 17, 2018, Homerville coffeeshop explosion resulting from AGL pipeline gas. Answer: still investigating, because so many parties are involved, and everyone has attorneys and disclosures to negotiate. He is quite aware many people would like to see a report.

I thanked him sincerely for his organization following up on this incident. He said it was their statutory duty. I said keep up the good work.

Meanwhile, here’s an example of the type of thing to expect:

Alleged Violation and Voluntary Contribution, Settlement Agreement

Whereas, AGL enters into this Settlement Agreement without admitting Continue reading

WWALS to FERC: Sabal Trail Leak, Dunnellon, LNG export, safety 2018-12-19

Despite Bernard McNamee’s statement early in the meeting that his agenda was to listen, FERC didn’t seem to want to hear me mention Sabal Trail’s leaks or their lack of LNG oversight yesterday. More on that later. Meanwhile, here is the letter I sent FERC Wednesday 19 December 2018 via PDF as FERC Accession Number 201812195184, Sabal Trail Hildreth Compressor Station Leak 2018-09-29, Supplemental Information / Request of WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. under CP15-17, et. al.

Hildreth and Dunnellon leaks, Letter

 December 19, 2018

To: Chairman Neil Chatterjee and Commissioners

Cheryl A. LaFleur, Richard Glick, Kevin J. McIntyre, and Bernard L. McNamee

Cc: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

888 First Street NE, Room 1A

Washington, DC 20426

Via email and e-filing

Re: Sabal Trail Hildreth Compressor Station Leak 2018-09-29

FERC Commissioners and Secretary,

Sabal Trail already leaked, despite years of safety assurances by Sabal Trail and FERC.

We only know about this leak at Continue reading

WWALS to PHMSA: Sabal Trail Map and Hildreth Compressor Station Leak 2018-12-19

Sent today via email as PDF. -jsq

  December 19 , 2018

PHMSA Suwannee County, Florida, Maps

To: Director James Urisko < James.Urisko@dot.gov >, 404-832-1150

Southern Region Office

PHMSA Office of Pipeline Safety

233 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 600

Atlanta, GA 30303

Cc: Community Liaisons:

James A. Kelly < James.Kelly@dot.gov >, 404-990-1848

Arthur Buff < Arthur.Buff@dot.gov >,  404-226-6153

Re: Sabal Trail Map and Hildreth Compressor Station Leak 2018-09-29

Dear Director Urisko,

On November 13, 2018, I sent you a list of sixteen questions about Sabal Trail’s leak at its Hildreth Compressor Station in Suwannee County, Florida, on September 29, 2018.

The only response I have received was Continue reading

WWALS to PHMSA about Sabal Trail Hildreth Compressor Station Leak 2018-09-29

Update 2018-12-19: No answers a month later, so today we sent another inquiry today.

Sent today, as PDF. -jsq

Questions, Letter


November 13, 2018

To: Director James Urisko <James.Urisko@dot.gov>, 404-832-1150
Southern Region Office
PHMSA Office of Pipeline Safety
233 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 600
Atlanta, GA 30303

Cc: Community Liaisons:
James Kelly <James.Kelly@dot.gov>, 404-990-1848
Arthur Buff <Arthur.Buff@dot.gov>, 404-226-6153

Re: Sabal Trail Hildreth Compressor Station Leak 2018-09-29

Dear Director Urisko,

For more than 20 hours starting Saturday, September 29, 2018, the Sabal Trail interstate natural gas pipeline leaked “26.40516 MMscf” of “Non-odorized natural gas“ and “10,405.5 lbs” of “VOC” (presumably Volatile Organic Compounds) at its Hildreth Compressor Station in Suwannee County, Florida. A week later Sabal Trail filed a report with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), the text of which is appended to this letter.

I have several questions:

  1. Why did Sabal Trail take more than a week to report this incident to FDEP?
  2. Did Sabal Trail report this incident to PHMSA? If so, please send a copy of that report, or how to get it.
  3. Has PHMSA filed a report about this incident? If so, please send a copy or how to get it.
  4. Is PHMSA investigating this incident? If so, when will the investigation be complete? Are there any interim results or opportunities for public comment into the process?
  5. Since Sabal Trail wrote “nothing in the yard caused alarms” and “Site is unmanned,” how did Sabal Trail discover this leak?
  6. What changes has Sabal Trail put in place Continue reading

Pipeline Safety investigation of Homerville Explosion by GA-PSC 2018-11-05

What happened since the August 17th Homerville, GA coffee shop explosion resulting from a leak from an AGL natural gas pipeline, reported as far away as New Orleans, Louisiana and Atlanta, Georgia? The three women airlifted to Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida got skin grafts and are recovering, according to occasional updates by one of them on facebook. Let’s all be thankful for their continued recovery.

The Georgia Public Service Commission is investigating the explosion, which may be a good thing, considering this is what the federal Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) knows about that AGL pipeline in Clinch County:

Map, Clinch County, Georgia, NPMS
PHMSA NPMS Public Viewer, Clinch County, Georgia, accessed 2018-11-05.

That’s right: PHMSA still doesn’t even show that pipeline exists, there’s no incident displayed, and apparently PHMSA’s map viewer no longer can even talk to google maps correctly.

Terry Richards, Valdosta Daily Times, 29 August 2018, PSC probing Homerville explosion, Continue reading