[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 147 (Tuesday, July 31, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 45417-45418]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-18571]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

[Docket No. PHMSA-2012-0176]


Pipeline Safety: Inspection and Protection of Pipeline Facilities 
After Railway Accidents

AGENCY: Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA); 
DOT.

[[Page 45418]]


ACTION: Notice; Issuance of Advisory Bulletin.

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SUMMARY: PHMSA is issuing an advisory bulletin to alert all pipeline 
owners and operators of the circumstances of the Cherry Valley, 
Illinois derailment and remind them of the importance of assuring that 
pipeline facilities have not been damaged either during a railroad 
accident or other event occurring in the right-of-way. Further, the 
advisory bulletin reminds pipeline owners and operators of the 
importance of providing pertinent information to rail operators and 
emergency response officials during an incident. This information 
should include the presence, depth and location of the pipelines so 
that the movement of heavy equipment and debris on the right-of-way 
does not damage or rupture the pipeline or otherwise pose a hazard to 
people working in, and around, the accident location. The advisory also 
encourages pipeline owners and operators to inform rail operators and 
emergency response officials of the benefits of using the 811 ``Call 
Before You Dig'' program to identify and notify underground utilities 
that an incident has occurred in the vicinity of their buried 
facilities.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Appelbaum by phone at 202-366-
1419 or by email at david.appelbaum@dot.gov. Information about PHMSA 
may be found at http://phmsa.dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    On Friday, June 19, 2009, at approximately 8:36 p.m., CST, a 
Canadian National Railway Company (CN) freight train U7069l-l8, 
traveling eastbound at 36 mph, derailed at a highway/rail grade 
crossing in Cherry Valley, Illinois. The train consisted of two 
locomotives and 114 cars, 19 of which derailed. All of the derailed 
cars were tank cars carrying denatured fuel ethanol, a flammable 
liquid. Thirteen of the derailed tank cars were breached or lost 
product and caught fire. At the time of the derailment, several motor 
vehicles were stopped on either side of the grade crossing waiting for 
the train to pass. As a result of the fire that erupted after the 
derailment, a passenger in one of the stopped cars was fatally injured, 
two passengers in the same car received serious injuries, and five 
occupants of other cars waiting at the highway-rail crossing were 
injured. Two responding firefighters also sustained minor injuries. The 
release of ethanol and the resulting fire prompted a mandatory 
evacuation of about 600 residences within a \l/2\-mile radius of the 
accident site.
    The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that the 
probable cause of the accident was the washout of the track structure 
that was discovered about one hour before the train's arrival, and CN's 
failure to notify the train crew of the known washout in time to stop 
the train because of the inadequacy of CN's emergency communication 
procedures.
    At the site of the derailment was a 12-inch diameter underground 
natural gas transmission pipeline operated by Nicor Gas. The pipeline 
well exceeded Federal standards for protective ground cover. Yet, as 
the wreckage was removed from above the pipeline, Nicor's crews 
discovered that a railcar wheel and axle assembly had impinged on the 
pipeline. Although the pipeline was buried about 11 feet deep and 
protected within a 16-inch diameter casing, the rail car wheels 
impacted and severely dented the pipeline. The impact caused a severe 
flattening of the pipe casing with sharp angular bends at two locations 
where it was contacted by the rail car wheel assembly. This degree of 
deformation to the 16-inch casing pipe likely caused similar damage to 
the 12-inch carrier pipe. The NTSB concluded that had the gas pipeline 
been installed at the railroad crossing with the minimum level of 
ground cover permitted by the current Federal and industry pipeline 
construction standards, it likely would have failed as a result of 
being struck by derailed equipment in this accident.

Advisory Bulletin (ADB-2012-08)

    To: Owners and Operators of Hazardous Liquid and Gas Pipeline 
Systems.
    Subject: Inspection and Protection of Pipeline Facilities after 
Railway Accidents.
    Advisory: To further enhance the Department's safety efforts, PHMSA 
is issuing this advisory bulletin as a reminder for pipeline owners and 
operators to appropriately inspect and protect pipeline facilities 
following railroad accidents that occur in pipeline right-of-ways.
    As illustrated in the June 19, 2009, Cherry Valley, Illinois train 
derailment, buried pipelines are susceptible to damage even when depth-
of-cover protection exceeds minimum Federal requirements. Pipeline 
owners and operators should inspect their facilities following a 
railroad accident or other significant event occurring in right-of-ways 
to ensure pipeline integrity. Also, during response operations, 
pipeline owners and operators need to inform rail operators and 
emergency response officials of the presence, depth and location of the 
pipelines so that the movement of heavy equipment on the right-of-way 
does not damage or rupture the pipeline or otherwise pose a hazard to 
people working in, and around, the accident location.
    Additionally, PHMSA encourages pipeline owners and operators, as a 
part of their public awareness program, to inform rail operators and 
emergency response officials of the benefits of using the 811 ``Call 
Before You Dig'' program to identify and notify underground utilities 
that an incident has occurred in the vicinity of their buried 
facilities.

Linda Daugherty,
Deputy Associate Administrator for Policy and Programs.
[FR Doc. 2012-18571 Filed 7-30-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-60-P