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Pipeline Safety Tracker

Find the Accidents Near You

Although they carry the vast majority of our oil and natural gas, the nation's 2.5 million miles of pipelines remain largely invisible to the public. And while they're much safer than alternatives such as trucks, pipelines suffer hundreds of ruptures and spills every year. Critics blame minimal oversight and old pipes for accidents that could have been prevented; operators maintain that they're committed to continuous improvement. Here we map accidents that regulators labeled "significant incidents" from 1986 to the present. | Related Story »

Selected Incidents

Allentown

Kalamazoo

Yellowstone

San Bruno

Sept 9, 2010

San Bruno, Calif.

Organizational Deficiencies and Weld Flaws

On the evening of Sept. 9, 2010 a natural gas pipeline ruptured, spewing almost 50 million cubic feet of gas into the air. The resulting 300-foot flames quickly engulfed the neighborhood, killing eight people, injuring dozens and damaging or destroying over 100 homes.

While police and firefighters arrived within minutes of the explosion, it took 95 minutes for the pipeline operator to stop the flow of escaping gas. A year long investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board blamed the accident on Pacific Gas and Electric Company's inadequate quality control and testing of the over 50 year old pipeline, calling it an "organizational accident." Investigators found defects in the pipeline seam welds, which burst after pressure in the pipeline rose to 396 pounds per square inch.

Feb. 9, 2011

Allentown, Pa.

Aging Pipelines

A old gas line running beneath Allen Street exploded on Feb. 9, 2011, igniting a fire that killed five people including a four-month-old boy and an elderly couple. Over fifty homes and businesses were damaged and hundreds of residents were forced outside into 27 degree weather. The Allen Street pipeline, which was made out of cast-iron, was installed in 1928.

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission investigators said that the operator, UGI Utilities, failed to adequately monitor its lines and fix aging pipelines that showed signs of damage. A recent joint settlement proposal has UGI paying a $386,000 fine and accelerating the replacement of its cast-iron pipes.

July 1, 2011

Yellowstone River

Fast Moving Spills of Crude

A 12-inch wide pipeline owned by ExxonMobil ruptured, dumping 63,000 gallons of crude into the Yellowstone River on July 1, 2011. Over a hundred people from the nearby town of Laurel, Montana were evacuated because officials were afraid of an explosion.

The Department of Transportation estimated that the oil spread up to 240 miles downstream. Later reports raised the possibility that this pipeline may have sometimes carried tar sands crude, which environmentalists claim can be more damaging to a pipeline because of its corrosive chemical compounds, as well as more toxic to people and wildlife.

July 26, 2010

Kalamazoo River

Corrosion, Cracks, and Millions in Clean Up

On July 26, 2010 an Enbridge Energy pipeline spilled over 840,000 gallons of heavy crude into the Kalmazoo River. A federal report said that Enbridge made numerous missteps that contributed to the 80-inch rupture in the corroding pipeline. These missteps included a failure to ensure the safety of the pipe (corrosion-fatigue cracks in this pipeline were documented for years, but never fixed) as well as an inadequate response once the pipeline did fail (alarms went of for 17 hours before Enbridge realized what was happening).

Hundreds of Michigan residents suffered health effects related to toxic exposure from the oil, and clean up costs are estimated at $800 million, making this accident the most expensive on-shore spill in U.S. history.

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'90'00'10

Pipeline Deaths

39
14
27
45
9
14
15
17
22
21
53
10
21
22
38
7
12
12
23
14
21
15
9
13
22
14
7

'90'00'10

Pipeline Injuries

156
150
144
157
76
98
118
111
120
64
127
77
81
108
81
61
49
71
60
48
36
50
59
64
109
60
31

'90'00'10

Pipeline Property Damages

$66.2M
$49M
$88.3M
$58.3M
$50.9M
$83.2M
$100M
$91.9M
$222M
$70.5M
$152M
$103M
$163M
$166M
$240M
$73.8M
$118M
$160M
$315M
$1.45B
$158M
$160M
$571M
$175M
$1.37B
$350M
$142M

PIPELINE INCIDENTS BY CAUSE

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'86

1986

340 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 0%

Natural Force Damage : 4%

Material Weld Equipment Failure : 10%

Incorrect Operation : 5%

Excavation Damage : 35%

Corrosion : 17%

All Other Causes : 29%

'87

1987

346 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 2%

Natural Force Damage : 2%

Material Weld Equipment Failure : 10%

Incorrect Operation : 5%

Excavation Damage : 29%

Corrosion : 21%

All Other Causes : 31%

'88

1988

320 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 2%

Natural Force Damage : 4%

Material Weld Equipment Failure : 10%

Incorrect Operation : 6%

Excavation Damage : 29%

Corrosion : 18%

All Other Causes : 30%

'89

1989

277 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 4%

Natural Force Damage : 4%

Material Weld Equipment Failure : 11%

Incorrect Operation : 6%

Excavation Damage : 32%

Corrosion : 15%

All Other Causes : 27%

'90

1990

253 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 1%

Natural Force Damage : 7%

Material Weld Equipment Failure : 15%

Incorrect Operation : 8%

Excavation Damage : 29%

Corrosion : 16%

All Other Causes : 25%

'91

1991

279 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 4%

Natural Force Damage : 4%

Material Weld Equipment Failure : 13%

Incorrect Operation : 6%

Excavation Damage : 33%

Corrosion : 22%

All Other Causes : 19%

'92

1992

284 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 2%

Natural Force Damage : 4%

Material Weld Equipment Failure : 13%

Incorrect Operation : 7%

Excavation Damage : 31%

Corrosion : 15%

All Other Causes : 28%

'93

1993

293 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 2%

Natural Force Damage : 6%

Material Weld Equipment Failure : 13%

Incorrect Operation : 7%

Excavation Damage : 30%

Corrosion : 15%

All Other Causes : 27%

'94

1994

326 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 1%

Natural Force Damage : 12%

Material Weld Equipment Failure : 16%

Incorrect Operation : 6%

Excavation Damage : 23%

Corrosion : 17%

All Other Causes : 27%

'95

1995

259 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 1%

Natural Force Damage : 9%

Material Weld Equipment Failure : 12%

Incorrect Operation : 12%

Excavation Damage : 30%

Corrosion : 15%

All Other Causes : 21%

'96

1996

301 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 1%

Natural Force Damage : 4%

Material Weld Equipment Failure : 10%

Incorrect Operation : 7%

Excavation Damage : 33%

Corrosion : 21%

All Other Causes : 25%

'97

1997

267 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 1%

Natural Force Damage : 6%

Material Weld Equipment Failure : 10%

Incorrect Operation : 5%

Excavation Damage : 27%

Corrosion : 22%

All Other Causes : 29%

'98

1998

295 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 3%

Natural Force Damage : 6%

Material Weld Equipment Failure : 13%

Incorrect Operation : 4%

Excavation Damage : 29%

Corrosion : 19%

All Other Causes : 26%

'99

1999

275 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 3%

Natural Force Damage : 3%

Material Weld Equipment Failure : 11%

Incorrect Operation : 8%

Excavation Damage : 27%

Corrosion : 15%

All Other Causes : 33%

'00

2000

290 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 2%

Natural Force Damage : 3%

Material Weld Equipment Failure : 10%

Incorrect Operation : 5%

Excavation Damage : 28%

Corrosion : 20%

All Other Causes : 32%

'01

2001

233 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 3%

Natural Force Damage : 5%

Material Weld Equipment Failure: 8%

Incorrect Operation : 4%

Excavation Damage : 33%

Corrosion : 21%

All Other Causes : 25%

'02

2002

258 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 7%

Natural Force Damage : 5%

Material Weld Equipment Failure : 24%

Incorrect Operation : 5%

Excavation Damage : 23%

Corrosion : 21%

All Other Causes : 14%

'03

2003

298 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 9%

Natural Force Damage : 5%

Material Weld Equipment Failure : 22%

Incorrect Operation : 6%

Excavation Damage : 28%

Corrosion : 15%

All Other Causes : 15%

'04

2004

329 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 13%

Natural Force Damage : 13%

Material Weld Equipment Failure: 21%

Incorrect Operation : 4%

Excavation Damage : 21%

Corrosion : 19%

All Other Causes : 9%

'05

2005

361 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 16%

Natural Force Damage : 22%

Material Weld Equipment Failure : 22%

Incorrect Operation : 6%

Excavation Damage : 13%

Corrosion : 14%

All Other Causes : 8%

'06

2006

271 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 15%

Natural Force Damage : 4%

Material Weld Equipment Failure: 23%

Incorrect Operation : 5%

Excavation Damage : 16%

Corrosion : 20%

All Other Causes : 17%

'07

2007

284 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 11%

Natural Force Damage : 6%

Material Weld Equipment Failure : 20%

Incorrect Operation : 5%

Excavation Damage : 20%

Corrosion : 23%

All Other Causes : 15%

'08

2008

308 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 18%

Natural Force Damage : 13%

Material Weld Equipment Failure: 21%

Incorrect Operation : 8%

Excavation Damage : 13%

Corrosion : 17%

All Other Causes : 10%

'09

2009

295 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 20%

Natural Force Damage : 9%

Material Weld Equipment Failure : 25%

Incorrect Operation : 7%

Excavation Damage : 14%

Corrosion : 15%

All Other Causes : 12%

'10

2010

268 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 12%

Natural Force Damage : 6%

Material Weld Equipment Failure : 30%

Incorrect Operation : 10%

Excavation Damage : 13%

Corrosion : 21%

All Other Causes : 9%

'11

2011

290 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 10%

Natural Force Damage : 6%

Material Weld Equipment Failure : 31%

Incorrect Operation : 7%

Excavation Damage : 14%

Corrosion : 20%

All Other Causes : 10%

'12

2012

163 incidents. Causes:

Other Outside Force Damage : 9%

Natural Force Damage : 4%

Material Weld Equipment Failure : 32%

Incorrect Operation : 4%

Excavation Damage : 10%

Corrosion : 21%

All Other Causes : 18%

2012 is partial

PIPELINE INCIDENTS BY THE NUMBERS

7,763
Incidents

536
Fatalities

2,366
Injuries

$6.75B
Property Damages

3,918
Gas Incidents

3,845
Hazardous Liquid Incidents

PIPELINE INCIDENTS BY STATE

State Incidents Fatalities Injuries Property Damage
State Incidents Fatalities Injuries Property Damage
Alaska A 65 2 13 74574154.0$74.6M
Alabama B 97 15 42 29136604.0$29.1M
Arkansas C 97 8 21 17851589.0$17.9M
Arizona D 66 6 43 32000543.0$32M
California E 573 43 198 724607462.0$725M
Colorado F 114 2 57 37346226.0$37.3M
Connecticut G 33 2 19 18616867.0$18.6M
Washington, DC y 9 1 7 931469.0$931K
Delaware H 10 0 5 4013072.0$4.01M
Florida I 56 6 23 40555334.0$40.6M
Georgia J 89 7 36 56293562.0$56.3M
Guam  2 0 0 2580015.0