Health and Safety, Industries, Management Skills, Risk Assessment

Colonial Pipeline in Rural Alabama Explodes, 1 Worker Dead, 5 Injured

While working to restore system integrity and tackle gasoline leak that held on last September, a massive explosive occurs along the Colonial Pipeline in Shelby County, Ala., killing one worker and injuring five others. The explosion also caused the evacuation of homes and businesses within a three-mile radius.

A team of contractors from L. E. Bell Construction was working on the colonial pipeline in Shelby County around 3 pm on 31st October when they found themselves in a stern situation. As their equipment struck the line, it caused a massive explosion that killed one man and injured five others. The contractors were hired to drain the line. According to a statement released by Colonial Pipeline, the explosion happened when the line experienced an incident where the trackhoe it was using hit the line and resulted in igniting Gasoline causing fire. By for now, the company has shut down the two tandem lines of gasoline and diesel respectively.

It was on 9th September this year, when a state mining inspector in Shelby County detected a gasoline odor at the surface mine and immediately alerted Colonial Pipeline to operate defected lines with immediate effects. Soon after knowing the ill development, Colonial Pipeline immediately initiated the shutdown of both the lines referring them to line 1 and line 2. Meanwhile, they also mobilized a coordinated response effort with federal, state, local agencies and local emergency responders. Within a few hours, it was learned that the product released was gasoline in line 1 and transports diesel (jet fuel and other refined products) in the other line. It is notable that Colonial Pipeline completed the construction of temporary bypass amidst leak site on September 21. The plan was reviewed by the US Department of Transportation PHMSA and EPA.

The Environmental Control:

It is reported that Environmental controls were immediately deployed at the site which includes control on a tributary of the Cahaba River and at the mouth of the tributary and River Cahaba itself. According to the official reports, the unit of barrel release has gone up to 7,370 barrels.

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) along with working EPA and Cahaba Riverkeeper started the water quality sampling soon after the emission of fuels and decided to continue the process throughout the remediation process. Even after the completion of the process, the team will continue to conduct periodical thereafter in consultation with ADEM. The idea to release an air monitoring plan is also under process.


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