Thursday, February 25, 2010

House explosion in Minnesota may be related to horizontal drilling

Crews from Centerpoint Energy were installing a telephone cable using the method of horizontal directional drilling. The problem is with so many pipelines and changes in the earth (settling and erosion) it is hard to be 100% sure of where the pipelines are.

The more pipelines the more difficult the process is. Here are a few paragraphs from the Minnesota Public Radio
article.

It's known as horizontal directional drilling. Crews use small tractors with hydraulic rams to shove steel pipe through the ground -- instead of digging down from above with a shovel. It's a method cheaper and faster than other tactics.

But as good as the technology is, there's still no way to see what else is underground that might be in the way of their drilling. Sunderland's crew had to thread their way through gas lines, telephone wires, TV cable, sewer connections and even a sprinkler system.

Experts say there may be several such collisions -- called crossbores -- in every mile of underground pipe installation. Inspectors have found them in pipes leading to hospitals and schools.

4 comments:

John said...

After years in the construction industry, I can tell you identifying where pipelines are is becoming more difficult. Fort Worth is a nightmare. You have the natural gas (Atmos) lines and now with the drilling in the neighborhoods, you have the pipelines associated with gas drilling.

Anonymous said...

Off topic, but Williams related...

http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/wyoming/article_a5d64fba-21cc-11df-a9f4-001cc4c03286.html

John said...

Yes, Williams makes mistakes and has accidents just like all the rest of the drilling companies. We have been told at all the town council meetings that Williams is different, they do it right. This is not an attack on Williams but rather to point out the reality that even the somewhat responsible drilling companies still have accidents.

Are we willing to allow them to pipe and store large amounts of produced water in our town knowing that they too make mistakes?

Buried pipelines are somewhat of a gamble. It is true that the ground settles and shifts. Erosion happens. So these pipelines that Williams is proposing may not be flammable but they are dangerous and subject to accidents.

Another Concerned Citizen said...

We agree John. Anonymous 5:58, thanks for the article.