Millennium Pipeline Safety Record

Shams Harpur shared the following information at the Stop the I 81 pipeline meeting last night in Cortland.  sc
Millennium Past Incidents (Shams Harpur)


This document is meant to give those working against Millennium 81 N/S a list of prior incidents and pipeline accidents specifically related to Millennium Pipeline Company (MPC) and Columbia Gas Transmission (the company that operates Millennium Pipeline). The major player in Millennium Pipeline Co, as Gale pointed out, is NiSource, owner of both CGT and major stakeholder of MPC. Looking at prior incidents at Millennium Pipeline itself, as well as the parent companies operating the proposed 81 pipeline will give us vital information about the safety and track record of these companies. Such information can be very effective when reaching out to both landowners and the general public.


As an aside, an 2010 article dealing with the infamous San Bruno explosion and pipeline safety should be a must read for everyone looking through this document, and for those doing outreach to landowners. It frames questions about pipeline safety and regulation in a very effective manner.,0


Millennium Pipeline Co.


To date, the existing E/W Millennium pipeline has had one major incident. In 2011, Millennium Pipeline Co. was cited by PHMSA (a federal regulatory agency) for a leak resulting from a faulty weld. The section of pipe with the faulty weld was placed aside due to failing safety tests, yet was installed anyway. The leak occurred in the Town of Owego (Tioga County), in a remote area under a creek bed. According to PHMSA’s citation, 1,328 million cubic feet of gas was released. No injuries, fatalities, or property damage.
However, also included in the citation were concerns about at least two other faulty welds that were installed without repairs or adequate testing. Also, Columbia Gas Transmission was could not  supply safety records on other suspect welds on the Millennium pipeline. Quoting PHMSA’s report “These issues and the inconsistencies in NDT [non-destructive testing] documentation raise concerns as to the integrity of other welds throughout the Millennium Pipeline System”.
According to an pipeline safety expert quoted in Industrial Safety and Security Source, “not producing records on a relatively new pipeline indicates that something gone wrong here – seriously wrong”.  The same expert, was paraphrased in ProPublica, “Richard Kuprewicz, a pipeline safety expert and consultant, said an explosion on the line could be significantly larger than the one that killed eight people in San Bruno, Calif., in September because the Millennium operates at more than double the pressure, even after the recent reduction”. (The San Bruno explosion was an explosion of a high-pressure transmission line which killed 8 people. The proposed N/S Millennium line is a transmission line)




Industrial Safety and Security Source:



CGT has also been cited by PHSMA for other safety violations during an inspection period from July 2008 and August 2010. These inspections took place at Millennium Facilities in Binghamton, New York and Port Jervis Operating Center, New York. During the inspection period, PHSMA found 6 items of violations. These violations included not inspecting the pipeline for external corrosion within time limits; CGT did not have the required cathodic protection installed on the pipeline in three separate sections, the largest of which ran for 67 miles from Hancock to Tuxedo. The cathodic protection system is required to be installed within one year from when the pipeline is constructed. The lines inspected went into service between 2-3 years before the inspectors cited CGT for non-compliance. Three CGT compressor units at the Sparrowbush open air compressor station are unable to automatically shut off fuel and vent their manifolds, violating pipeline safety laws. CGT failed to follow its own construction specifications, and CGT’s bending and handling techniques resulted in damaged pipe coating.
Pipe coatings on portions of a 186 mile section from Ramapo, NY to Corning, NY were found by inspectors in2008 to be damaged. This citation from PHMSA was sent to CGT in 2012. The same Ramapo-Corning line was also cited by PHSMA in 2008 for not being inspected on installation, in violation of pipeline safety law. During a “jeeping” operation, there was no inspector present, even though it is required by law. On July, 18th, during an installation of a section of pipe, CGT told state inspectors there was an installation inspector on site, but when state inspectors searched for the GCT inspector, they could not find them. On July 25th, a second section was found not to have inspectors on site during installation. Foam padding during installation was found by state inspectors to have shifted, and state inspectors had to inform CGT in order for repairs to be made.
    CGT was also cited by state inspectors for not visually inspecting two weld repairs being done. Welding inspectors required by law to be present for the repairs were not present for any step of the repair process.


Columbia Gas Transmission:


Columbia Gas Transmission L.L.C. is a daughter company of NiSource which operates the Millennium Pipeline. A major pipeline operator, CGT operates pipelines NiSource/Columbia Pipeline Group across the nation. In the period between 2002-2013, which is when we have access to PHMSA data, CGT has been cited a total of 45 times for varying enforcement cases. For the 11 years that PHMSA has data on CGT, they have only gone a single year without citations. I urge that everyone look at the PHMSA’s page on CGT, and read the descriptions of different enforcement categories given below the table


For example, the enforcement case when the major leak was detected in the Millennium Pipeline is filed under a Notice of Proposed Safety Order, “PHMSA may issue a Notice of Proposed Safety Order to notify an operator that a particular pipeline facility has a condition or conditions that pose a pipeline integrity risk to public safety, property, or the environment. A Notice of Proposed Safety Order addresses pipeline integrity risks that may not constitute a hazardous facility requiring immediate corrective action (see Corrective Action Order described above), but do need to be addressed over time.” For the four years PHMSA has implemented the Notice of Proposed Safety Order (2010-2013), CGT has been cited twice.


Corrective Action Orders:


Between 2002 and 2013, CGT has been cited 3 Corrective Action Orders. Corrective Action Orders are given when “PHMSA…determines that a particular pipeline represents a serious hazard to life, property, or the environment. They usually address urgent situations arising out of an accident, spill, or other significant, immediate, or imminent safety or environmental concern. In a Corrective Action Order case, PHMSA identifies actions that must be taken by the operator to assure safe operation. These actions may include the shutdown of a pipeline or operation at reduced pressure, physical inspection or testing of the pipeline, repair or replacement of defective pipeline segments, and similar measures”. However, “If PHMSA believes the conditions for a Corrective Action Order case exist, but the Order does not need to be issued expeditiously to prevent likely serious harm to life, property or the environment, the Operator will be given reasonable notice and an opportunity for a hearing before an actual Corrective Action Order is issued.” For the three CAO issued, two were the result of fire or explosion, and the other was a result of an internal inspection which found 800 anomalies with wall loss over 65 percent.


On December 14th 2007, a pipeline operated by CGT exploded near the town of Delhi, Louisiana nearby Interstate 20, killing one person and injuring another. Several farm buildings and equipment nearby was also destroyed by fire. The same pipeline experienced leaks in 2006, and 2001, and another line closeby operated by CGT as part of the same natural gas system leaked in 2000. The leak and explosion were ruled to be caused by external corrosion.



On December 11th, 2012, a pipeline operated by CGT failed near Sissonville, WV, exploded, shooting a 15-ft section of pipe out of the ground. Two flame plumes were reported, destroying three homes, severely damaged another, and inflicted damage to several other homes. Interstate 77 was also damaged and closed. Preliminary conclusions about the causes of the explosion point to wall thinning. Two other pipeline loops were located within 200 ft and 60 ft of the line that exploded. The case is still under investigation.


Probable Violation Cases:

Working Conclusions:


From CGT’s record of serious safety violations during the construction of the current Millennium pipeline show that the company has a very poor safety record. The E/W Millennium pipeline has been in operation for 5 years, yet has been cited at least 7 times for serious safety violations. The lack of complete record-keeping of testing on the part of CGT further points to the attitude towards safety that CGT holds. What should also be kept in mind is the time between PHMSA observing violations and citations being issued, 4 years in the case of the Millennium Probable Violation Report, and 6 months in the case of the Millennium leak.
    In the light of a regulatory environment where gas companies are left to regulate themselves, concerns about the maintenance of 50+ year old pipelines, and the poor safety record of a relatively new Millennium pipeline, we have a lot angles to point to the dangers of allowing pipelines to come through New York.

Route I 81 Corridor Pipeline: proposed for Cortland, Broome, and Onondaga Counties

Do you know about the proposed new pipeline?  

The real name is“Millennium Phase-1 North-South Upstate Pipeline Connector” … but we call it the “I-81 Pipeline”.

It would affect the following towns:

ONONDAGA COUNTY: Onondaga,Otisco Lafayette.Tully

CORTLAND COUNTY: Preble, Homer, Cortlandville, Virgil, Lapeer

BROOME COUNTY: Lisle, Nanticoke, Maine, Union

Check the map to see if you live nearby…

Local Events:

Public Information Session on I81 Pipeline Joe Heath, Craig Stevens, Tues., Nov. 19th 6:30 pm at Lafayette High School, Lafayette, NY

Informational Meeting on I-81 Pipeline held Sept. 23 at Center for the Arts, Homer NY

Video Coverage

 SUNY Downtown, 9 Main St. Cortland.


We need volunteers to help fight this invasion of our communities:

Technical experts in geology, ecology, hydrology, energy policy, GIS, mapping, education, communication, social media,  PowerPoint and other presentation skills, research, writing testimony for regulatory agencies as well as people who can help inform local communities, landowners and government officials of the implications of a pipeline.  If you have concerns, there is a place for you in this endeavor!

Contact us at:


Additional Information Sources

Facebook Page: 

Like this new Facebook page: I81Pipeline

(Excellent and comprehensive information from group fighting the Constitution Pipeline)  


Several key projects are hitting all at once: The Constitution Pipeline, the Liberty LNG Port, and the Minisink compressor station all face mid-month deadlines. These are but three of the 24 gas infrastructure projects currently planned for New York State. The LNG port alone could change the landscape for New York and the tristate area by opening up the potential for a local export facility.


Details of Northeast Gas Infrastructure Expansion Projects


Industry Announcements of the I-81 Project


Natural Resources Along the Pipeline Route



Social & Cultural Resources

Aerial photos of Pipeline Construction

Background Information on Pipelines:

What Do Pipelines Portend?

Pipelines = Fracking.  The new federal fracking guidelines include an provision for no venting or flaring of gas at drilling, so pipes have to be in place before wells are drilled.  This lays the infrastructure for expanding the extraction of methane to more communities.
Pipelines = Eminent Domain.  A taking of your land “for the public good”.   Learn about what this means.
Pipelines = Danger.  From the PHMSA Pipeline Haz. Materials and Safety Administration – last decade 5600 fires and explosions and almost 400 deaths in the US alone from ‘significant’ pipelines incidents.  This does not count leaky pipes and ‘minor’ breaks resulting in dangerous incidents.
Pipelines = Compressors  Compressor stations are required every few dozen miles, and compressor stations outgas toxic gasses continually and have proven to be more dangerous to live near than wellpads.  This 24″ (at least) line would require large compressors to push the gas through, running 24/7 and outgassing known carcinogenic volatile organics that airborne, ultimately end up in the water, soil and our food.  
We have to get on top of the convoluted and segmented permitting process, to gather a voice against the further investment in unconventional gas and oil development.  
We need all hands on deck for this.   There is work to be done so this ‘proposal’ does not become a reality. 
Learn about the permitting process, easements, ramifications of eminent domain and restrictions on landowner rights re easements.   Learn how to become involved in the process.  Learn about the history of the old pipeline along the same route, and some of the geology of the route, and meet your neighbors and friends to stop this pipeline from bringing fracked gas t

Millennium Announcement of “Open Season”

Natural gas shipper proposes new pipeline from Binghamton to Syracuse area |  5/15/13

Pipeline Brochures:  



Municipal Involvement


Gas Pipelines: What Municipalities Need to Know (Video from 2012 Ithaca meeting)

Streaming Video (Playlist):

Downloads (Media RSS Video & Audio):

iTunes (Video):

Gas Pipelines: What Municipalities Need to Know
May 17, 2012. Ithaca, NY. Free Twenty interstate natural gas pipeline systems crisscross the region from West Virginia to Maine. As gas drilling operations expand, thousands of miles of new pipelines will be needed to connect existing pipelines to gas wells. Learn the difference between gathering, transmission, and distribution lines; what agencies have jurisdiction over the various types of lines; how pipelines are permitted, regulated, and monitored; and how municipalities can prepare for an increase in pipeline networks.

Presenters: Sharon Anderson, Environmental Program Leader, Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County; Jim Austin, Environmental Certification and Compliance, State of New York Department of Public Service; Deborah Goldberg, Managing Attorney, Earthjustice Northeast Regional Office; Meghan Thoreau, Planner, Southern Tier Central Regional Planning and Development Board.

Co-sponsored by Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County and Tompkins County Council of Governments.

Local Governments Should Officially Intervene in FERC Process

General information on gas infrastructure

Pipelines, Compressors, Storage, Metering Stations — Siteing, Regulation, Public Input, Safety

Note: I have used this. It is clunky and clumsy but the only thing I have encountered that let me find with some precision some lines that run within 4 mi west of me between the Tenessee line and the Millenium line. This is of considerable importance because those Rights of Way will very likely become major conduits and regions where compressors will pop up. One of the lines I was able to trace as far north as Cortland before I lost interest and tracing was getting hard.   There is a glitch when trying to trace over a state line, but there is a workaround by just tracing up to the border and then doing another run starting on the other side of the border.  Stan Scobie, Binghamton, NY, 607-669-4683

Storage and Transport Infrastructure

Finger Lakes Gas Storage and Infrastructure Project.  Salt Caverns,  Watkins Glen, NY Even if no fracking occurs in NY, Inergy intends to turn our region into the gas storage and transportation hub of the Northeastern United states- the salt caverns are empty and waiting, the railways are in place, and we’re not paying enough attention to this!

Inergy: Making Marcellus Happen (Watch the video)

Inergy, LP (Finger Lakes LPG Storage, LLC) based in Kansas City is a pipeline and natural gas storage company with approximately 3,000 employees and annual sales of about $1.8 billion.
In 2008, Inergy purchased the U.S. Salt plant on the west side of Seneca Lake approximately 2 miles north of Watkins Glen to “build an integrated gas storage and transportation hub in the Northeast.”

Details of the Inergy proposal include:

  • Construct and operate a new underground LPG storage facility for the storage and distribution of propane and butane on a portion of a 576 acre site near the intersection of Rts. 14 and 14A in the Town of Reading.
  • Proposed storage capacity of 2.10 million barrels (88.20 million gallons)
  • Construction of a 14 acre brine pond located on a steep slope just above Seneca Lake with a capacity of 91.8 million gallons.
  • Construction of a new rail and truck LPG transfer facility consisting of:  A 6 track rail siding capable of allowing loading/unloading of 24 rail cars every 12 hours 24/7/365.  A truck loading station capable of loading 4 trucks per hour (with the possibility to expand) 24/7/365.
  • Construction also to include surface works consisting of truck and rail loading terminals, LPG storage tanks, offices and other distribution facilities and stormwater control structures.

Please refer to the “Resources” page for more detailed information on the project and its potentially devastating environmental consequences.

To stay informed please join the Gas Free Seneca Listserv.

  • Inergy CEO Statement on Making Marcellus Happen:
    Even if no fracking occurs in NY, Inergy intends to turn our region into the gas storage and transportation hub of the Northeastern United states- the salt caverns are empty and waiting, the railways are in place, and we’re not paying enough attention to this!

Eminent Domain:

Spectra Energy Watch–Property Rights Eminent Domain

  • Is a Gas Company a Utility? One of the things the Tioga County Landowners group has discussed in public meetings is the importance of making sure landowners have good pipeline leases – even if they don’t have drilling. The idea, I believe, is that by offering a way to get gas from well to major transmission line, the gas companies won’t be tempted to gain status as a utility which would allow them powers of eminent domain for the gathering lines.  Well, here’s how Chief Oil & Gas got around that little hurdle in Susquehanna County, PA – they got permission to use state highway ROW. Not a good precedent for those who would like to lease pipeline routes, and for those who want to have no pipelines across their property.
  • Report of Laser Hearings in Windsor 10-20-10

I was one of about 65 people in the auditorium of Windsor High School as officials of the Public Service Commission and Laser Northeast Gathering Company first gave their information presentations and then answered questions and listened to statements from the public.

A 5 member Commission body, under Administrative Law Judge Howard Jack, will, at some point in the future, make a determination to either deny, grant with conditions, or approve the application to construct a 16 inch pipeline capable of carrying up to 170 million cu ft of gas per day. (Asked if the pipeline was being planned to serve more than the 18 wells stated in the application, Laser reps answered with the flow volume, and admitted that it could serve hundreds of wells. At the same time they said that the wells in PA that are now producing are not producing gas at a high rate.) Because the application is for a line that is less than 10 miles in length the PSC is not required under Article VII <>  to give the application its “full review”. Article VII was created in 1970 and actions under this law are not subject to SEQR (created at a later date). Neither does an Art VII certificate grant eminent domain or property rights.

We were told that Laser has been working for a year with not only the Town of Windsor but with the 1700 member Windsor Landowner Pipeline Coalition to put the pieces in place for this project. Windsor has enacted road protection and noise ordinances <>. The landowners have negotiated contracts. Laser owns the 40 acre parcel for the compressor station.

The audience asked questions about compressor station maintenance and noise, about emergency planning, odorizing the gas in the lines, depth under roads and rivers, and environmental protections during the construction phase.

I asked several questions about maintenance and gas leak monitoring. The Laser reps told me that the station will be monitored closely and that they have the capacity to “count gas molecules entering and leaving the station”. They did Not say that the incoming and outgoing volume is balanced but said instead that it is “reconciled”. And no, they have never considered using infra-red technology to look for leaks. And No, the gas “is not required to be” odorized.

There are 80 residences on the perimeter of the 40 acre parcel that will hold the compressor station. Several people asked questions about noise. The PSC standard is 40 decibels at any residence. The Windsor ordinance states: maximum noise levels  “During daytime hours: ambient noise levels plus five (5) dBA. During nighttime hours: ambient noise levels plus three (3) dBA. Additionally, until demonstrated by the applicant or by the Town, ambient noise or sound levels within the Town of Windsor shall be assumed to be 35 dBA.

Using the “Teacher’s Resource Guide” < > I find that they rate 40 decibels the noise level in a library.

I asked if compliance with the Windsor ordinance is required under the Art. VII certificate and was told that “it could be”.

During the public comment part of the evening, there were 7 presentations. Of those 7, 5 people lauded the Laser company for the wonderful job they have done in bringing this opportunity to the people of Windsor. Two people (one of them Deborah Goldberg) spoke for full review, no pipelines before SGEIS approval, cumulative impact study, and for tighter environmental protections.

If you have gotten this far in reading you understand that the landowner coalitions did a good job of getting their members out to this hearing. The company reps did their usual job of talking slick. The PSC administrators need to hear from lots more people who want a full review (this pipeline will be much more than 10 miles in length when they get any of the laterals in place).  Visit , and scroll down to the comment section.

Pipelines are coming to your neighborhood folks! Do you want to live next to a compressor station with its attendant noise and air pollution? We need to make a larger stink than they plan to make or these things will be rubber stamped into place. Remember, they need pipelines to put the gas into before they drill. If the pipelines are here the drillers will come.

Request full review. Request infra-red monitoring and odorizing of the gas. Request environmental protections and full cumulative study.
Marie McRae
Dryden Resource Awareness Coalition.  Wednesday, July 7, 2010

  • Pa. to Corning gas line gets OK: “…Corning, N.Y. — A proposed $43 million gas pipeline from the Pennsylvania border up to Corning has received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, clearing the way for construction next summer. Empire Pipeline’s new 15-mile-long, 24-inch pipeline will carry Marcellus Shale gas produced in Pennsylvania north to Corning, where it will connect with the Millennium Pipeline…The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, based in Washington, D.C., determined the project would not have a significant environmental impact. The agency’s assessment was detailed in a 119-page report sent to The Leader last week. The report is posted online at . Several other local, state and federal agencies were involved in the review…FERC’s approval gives Empire Pipeline the right to use eminent domain, although company officials say that’s a last resort. They have already been negotiating compensation deals with landowners. About 50 area residents attended a presentation and public hearing in Corning back in late April, but no one voiced opposition…” ” (Corning Leader) (NY & PA)-

Accidents, Spills, Explosions of Pipelines and other Gas installations: 

Ageing Pipelines