Expert warns of increasing pipeline failures, accidents

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety

You see the signs warning of buried pipelines everywhere you go. Now an internationally renowned pipeline expert is warning that the number of pipeline accidents is on the rise. 


There are more than 8 million miles of pipeline nationwide. In many states, there are more than 100,000 miles of underground pipelines. The number of reported pipeline accidents continues to rise. More than 40,000 major sewage spills and over 300,000 major water main breaks were reported last year. 


Picture 1: Dramatic explosion in a water transmission pipeline in Tucson, Ariz., disrupting water supply and traffic.



Picture 2: Millions of gallons of water gushing out of the pipeline break in Los Angeles.




Picture 3: Large span roadway culvert buckling at the bottom shutting down traffic for days.



Dr. Jey K. Jeyapalan, P.E., identifies the most common causes of serious pipeline failures as follows:


1.  Lack of formal classes and training in underground pipeline design, construction and management in universities around the world.


2. Inadequate understanding of the pipe-soil interaction principles.


3. Wide-ranging behavior of pipe materials.


4. Legal claims and counterclaims of pipe manufacturers.


5. Inconsistent design standards, sometimes by the same governing body, for different pipe materials.


6. Political pressure brought on the engineer by pipe interest groups.


7. Appropriate and adequate utility mapping is rarely done during design or construction of a pipeline.


8. Improper designs and site supervision by licensed engineers.


9. Pipelines being used well beyond their intended design life.


10. Improper operation and maintenance.


Jeyapalan, an expert in the design, construction and management of underground pipeline projects has published a new book Advances in Underground Pipeline Design, Construction and Management.  The 400-page book provides assessments and lessons learned from more than 300 projects worldwide.


Jeyapalan’s key goal in publishing the book is to enhance public safety regarding underground pipelines. The book seeks to provide a simple way to organize the thinking, techniques and data required to help make informed decisions in this critical area.


His review of the field addresses the critical areas in underground pipeline design, construction & management. His book describes the principles underlying pipe/soil interaction, the wide-ranging and often misunderstood nature of pipe materials, and the lack of consistency in design standards for pipe materials by governing entities in the field. He also describes and summarizes the growing number of claims and counterclaims among the world’s pipe manufacturers. The book also describes cost-effective approaches that can be considered when there is an acute shortage in funding to either build new pipelines or renovate leaking sewers, waterlines, oil, gas and process pipelines. 



The book lists for $250.

To learn more, visit or call 860-354-7299.

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