Learn About our Operations and Commitment to Safety
Get information about the Access Northeast project, how our pipelines operate and our commitment to safety.
- What are safety measures for this project?
Algonquin Gas Transmission is dedicated to the safe, reliable operation of facilities and the protection of employees, the public and the environment.
Natural gas pipelines monitor and control safety in many ways and use many different tools. Collectively, these tools make natural gas transmission pipelines one of the safest s of energy transportation. Access Northeast’s safety programs are designed to prevent pipeline failures, detect anomalies, per repairs and often exceed regulatory requirements.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (“USDOT”) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”) oversees the safety of interstate natural gas pipelines and mandates minimum requirements, from the design and construction to testing, operations, maintenance and emergency response. The new pipeline will operate in strict accordance with all federal and state safety requirements.
Algonquin works closely with local public safety officials to provide them with a thorough awareness of pipelines and pipeline safety.
To ensure our pipelines remain in safe and reliable operating condition, we employ a number of techniques – from high-tech monitoring at our gas control centers to foot patrols of pipeline right-of-ways.
Gas Control – Our high-tech computer control center is staffed 24-hours a day and monitors the flow of natural gas. As an added safety measure, remote control equipment is installed along the pipeline system, enabling us to operate valves remotely from gas control.
Gas Measurement – We precisely measure the quantity of natural gas along the pipeline as well as sample the natural gas at many sites to identify potential corrosive components.
Rectifiers and Cathodic Protection – Rectifiers transfer a regulated amount of current flow to the pipelines and receive electric current from AC sources like power lines. We check all rectifiers along the pipeline system every two months to ensure they are operating properly. Proper electric current flow along the surface of a pipeline impedes corrosive activity and prolongs the useful life of pipelines for many decades. The amount of current applied to the pipelines is harmless to humans, animals and plant life.
Above/Below Ground Coating Maintenance – Above and below ground pipeline facilities are protected by a coating that inhibits corrosion. Routine visual inspection of all above-ground facilities is conducted to determine if any coating damage or deterioration has occurred. During excavation or maintenance activities, we always inspect the coating for damage or deterioration.
Internal Pipe Cleaning – Our pipeline facilities are cleaned to minimize internal corrosion. Cleaning is conducted using devices called “pigs” that travel inside designated sections of the pipeline and remove liquids and debris from inside the pipe.
Inline Inspection – Inline inspections are pered with “smart pigs” which are mechanical tools that allow us to see the pipeline from the inside. These inline inspections can locate possible internal and external corrosion or other irregularities in the pipeline.
Ground Surveys – The pipeline right-of-way is patrolled in populated areas and some other areas of interest on foot and by vehicle. These ground surveys can reveal leaks and other potential issues.
Leak Surveys – We routinely per leak surveys on all of our facilities. These leak surveys look for fugitive emissions of natural gas. Many miles of the pipeline are surveyed with ground surveying techniques and aerial patrols are also used.
Aerial Patrols – Company planes conduct aerial patrols of the pipeline right-of-ways at least once a week. The aerial patrol looks for ground changes, construction activities or other conditions that could affect the pipeline.
Waterway Inspections – Locations where the pipeline crosses waterways are inspected at the surface every year to check for bank erosion, visible pipeline exposure and natural gas leaks indicated by bubbles. Many waterway crossings are inspected at the bottom of the waterway each year by contract divers under our direction. These divers determine if the pipeline is adequately covered.
Right-of-Way Maintenance – Mowing and clearing the right-of-way allows us to patrol the area by ground and air to discover activity that could lead to pipeline damage. It also allows the company to easily discover leaks and natural earth movement that could damage the pipeline facilities.
Sign/Marker Maintenance – Markers and signs are posted along our pipeline right-of-ways to in the public of the presence of the natural gas pipelines. The markers are placed at street and road crossings, railroad crossings and other significantly visible points along the right-of-way to reduce the possibility of damage to or interference with the pipeline.
In densely populated areas, we frequently place the markers within “line of sight” proximity – this means the markers are so close together that you can see from one marker to the next. Markers and signs include our name and the phone number to call if any abnormal condition or suspicious activity is detected that would threaten the integrity of the pipeline. In addition, 1 foot below natural grade, we install a bright yellow warning ribbon reflecting the location of the pipeline to notify potential excavators of the pipe’s location.