What will you do to make sure this pipeline project is constructed and operated safely?

Williams is a nearly 110-year-old energy company which has safely and reliably operated in Pennsylvania for more than 65 years. Williams historically has a strong safety record, and we remain above the industry safety average. For Atlantic Sunrise, we are demonstrating our commitment to safety by exceeding federal safety regulations in a number of critical areas, including:

  • Pipe material to meet and generally exceed the API-5L requirements
  • Using a 0.5 design factor for all fabricated MLV assemblies
  • Class 2 pipe to be installed in all Class 1 locations to increase the safety factor
  • 100 percent nondestructive inspection of mainline welds (for example, 49 CFR 192 requires only 10 percent of the welds to be tested in Class 1 locations)
  • Providing additional cover depth at certain locations (36 inches in Class 1 locations where only 30 inches of cover is required and 60 inches of cover under ditches of all public roads and railroad crossings where only 36 inches is required)
  • Hydrostatically testing the pipe at a maximum pressure that will exceed industry standards identified in 49 CFR 192 (1.5 times the maximum allowable operating pressure) before placing the line into service

What about seismic risks?

The risk of potential damage to the pipeline from seismic ground activity is extremely low.  Part of the pipeline design process will include engaging seismic experts to identify fault lines in areas of the proposed pipeline route.  Once these areas are identified, pipeline engineers will incorporate special design features to mitigate any issues the fault could create (e.g. thicker walled pipe; strain gauges; extra padded material during construction). The pipeline would be designed and constructed to standards that withstand probable seismic events within any seismic risk zones in accordance with applicable federal and state regulations.

Who has oversight over interstate pipelines?

The USDOT Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) and their partnering state regulatory agencies inspect transmission pipelines and enforce the regulations to better ensure safety and reduce risk. In addition to federal government regulatory requirements, standards and recommended practices are developed by industry organizations, such as the American Petroleum Institute, to provide further guidance on the safe construction, operation and maintenance of pipelines.

How safe are pipelines?

According to U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) statistics, pipelines are the safest method for transporting energy – in fact, pipelines have a success rate of 99.9 percent. As this project is designed, constructed and operated, Williams is committed to maintaining the highest standards of safety, using construction and operational procedures that exceed already stringent industry regulations.

Once operational, the new pipeline will be maintained and operated according to procedures outlined in our Pipeline Integrity Management Program. These procedures, many of which exceed federal industry regulations, include monitoring of the pipeline 24 hours a day, seven days a week.