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For Immediate Release
For Immediate Release
October 17, 2000
Pepco s plan to restore to service its underground oil pipeline
in southern Maryland has received preliminary approval from the
Office of Pipeline Safety, U.S. Department of Transportation.
Implementation of the plan over the next four to six months with
oversight from OPS is necessary before the pipeline can reopen.
The 52-mile pipeline, which originates at Piney Point, Md., on
the Potomac River, delivers fuel oil to Pepco s two power plants in
southern Maryland--Chalk Point in Prince George s County and
Morgantown in Charles County. The pipeline is a crucial element in
meeting demands for electricity for the people of southern Maryland
and the Washington metropolitan area.
The pipeline has been shut down since April 7, when more than
100,000 gallons of oil leaked into Swanson s Creek near Pepco s
Chalk Point plant. Pepco had contained the oil in the creek for
more than 24 hours, but an intense storm the next day blew oil over
containment booms into the Patuxent River. Pepco has continued to
work with government agencies and the nearby communities to restore
the Patuxent River shoreline environment.
The plan addresses all corrective actions imposed by OPS last
"We hope to reassure the community, regulators and ourselves
that we are taking the necessary steps to prevent another pipeline
incident from occurring," said Bill Sim, Pepco Vice President,
Generation. "We have employed the expertise of some of the top
pipeline managers in the nation in developing the plan, which we
designed to meet best industry practices and exceeds OPS
Sim said a thorough review of pipeline inspection data by
outside experts found no other defect along the pipeline route like
the one that caused the April 7 failure. Despite the findings of
the review, Sim said Pepco will excavate at several critical
locations to ensure the safety of the pipeline.
A critical element of the plan is to upgrade pipeline
instrumentation and control systems that will provide operators
with greatly enhanced capability to detect and quickly react to any
potential leaks or other abnormal situations. In other measures,
Pepco will test the safety of the pipeline by pressurizing it with
water at a pressure higher than the line would be exposed to in
regular operations; replace the failed section of the pipeline; and
implement revisions and enhancements to operator training and
In its commitment to keep residents and government and elected
officials informed, the company is sending letters describing these
plans to all property owners who are adjacent to the pipeline and
Last summer, Pepco agreed to sell its power plants to Southern
Energy, Inc., which will assume ownership of the plants and the
pipeline when the sale closes later this year. Southern Energy is
committed to operating the pipeline safely and efficiently.
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