At Tennessee, we are committed to safey. As an industry leader in transporting natural gas, we take many measures to maintain the integrity of our pipeline system. Tennessee's design, construction, operation and maintenance practices meet or exceed federal requirements as required by the Department of Transportation's Office of Pipeline Safety.
Our safety features include:
High Strength Pipeline Materials with Corrosion Protection:
Throughout our system, we use high-strength steel pipe that meets or exceeds standards set by the natural gas industry and the federal government. In populated areas, we install pipe with increased wall thickness to provide an even greater level of protection from puncture and corrosion.
Our entire pipe is coated with a special material that helps prevent corrosion. During construction, a protective coating is applied around each weld before the pipeline is laid in the ground. Additionally, hydrocarbon liquids, carbon dioxide and water are removed at processing plants to create pipeline-quality natural gas and protect the pipeline from the corrosive effects of these contaminants.
As required by the U.S. Department of Transportation, cathodic protection is used to suppress the corrosive effects of the soil.
Routine Testing and Inspection:
We regularly inspect and test our pipelines to identify potential trouble spots. One of the tests performed prior to initial operations is hydrostatic testing. Sections of the pipe are filled with water and then pressurized well beyond the pipe’s normal operating pressure to identify if any weaknesses are present in the pipe.
We also conduct routine inspections along our pipeline system. During construction, we non-destructively test each pipe weld to ensure all welds meet exacting standards. Once the pipeline is in operation, we visually inspect it by flying and driving along the pipeline right of way, checking for any indication of soil erosion, landslides, construction, excavation work, or anything else that could damage the pipeline and affect its safe operation. Additionally, we monitor the systems that provide corrosion protection to our pipelines.
Sophisticated Pipeline Operations and Monitoring:
To ensure the safe operation of our pipeline system, we employ highly trained, experienced technicians to operate the system in accordance with federal, state and local government regulations. Each professional shares Tennessee’s commitment to a safe operating environment.
The safe operation of the system is our primary consideration. This is evidenced by how we monitor and control the transportation of natural gas through our pipeline system. We closely regulate the gas pressure within the limits established by the U.S. Department of Transportation to maintain the integrity and ensure the reliable, safe operation of the pipeline system.
Compressor stations at intervals along the pipeline system are equipped with several safety devices. One of these safety systems, common to all compressor stations, is an Emergency Shutdown System. When activated, the Emergency Shutdown System stops the engines, isolates and vents the compressor piping, and routes the gas away from the station.
If the pressure within the pipeline changes at any time, our gas control center is alerted. The center is designed to monitor and control the entire pipeline system 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, using sophisticated computer and telecommunications equipment. If there are abnormal pressure fluctuations anywhere along the pipeline, the control center takes appropriate action which may include diverting the gas flow around the problem area, selectively isolating sections of the pipeline to reroute the gas flow. Thus, our high standard of safety is maintained while service to customers is minimally affected.
Public Awareness Programs:
We have an extensive program in place to ensure the public knows about our pipeline and can assist us in keeping our pipeline operation as safe as possible.
We work with local construction companies and landowners whose property is close to the pipeline by providing them with important information about the location of the pipeline, emergency procedures, and the names and telephone numbers of our key employees.
Additionally, we identify the location of our pipelines with markers, flags or signs. We provide information about who and where to call in the event of an emergency or if it becomes necessary to dig near the pipeline. Anyone who needs to perform excavation activities should notify the state’s One Call Center of the exact location of a planned excavation. One Call will contact the pipeline operators, who will send a representative out to mark the pipelines in the vicinity of the excavation.