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Route 206 Reopens as Pipeline Back in Service

Temporary repairs completed, company says.

Buckeye Pipe Line Co. said the temporary repair to the damaged section of the pipeline in Hillsborough has been completed, and the pipeline was put back in service at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.

The company said cleanup and remediation of the area where continues, and planning for permanent repairs is underway.

"We have effected what you could call a 'permanent temporary' repair, in that it can last for a long time," Buckeye spokesman David Boone said.  

Boone said the company installed a steel sleeve 20-24-inches in length over the leaking section of the pipeline, which is beneath Route 206, near the eastern side of the roadway. The sleeve—called a "Plimco sleeve" is held in place by bolts, and after put in place, was tested to verify it sealed the pipeline before it was brought back into service.

"It's important for people to know and understand that we have a process...we don't ever return a pipeline to service until it's safe to do so," he said.

He added the pipeline and one adjacent to it carry gasoline, diesel and petroleum distillates (such as heating oil) which can be switched as demand requires. During the week the leaking pipeline was out of service, the secondary line, as well as other pipelines in the area, picked up the extra flow to maintain supplies.

"The pipeline industry is an interconnected industry," Boone said. "We were able to work around to meet the demand."

He said the company will return to make the permanent repair sometime after the holidays.

"With all that's transpired over the last week, and the impact it's had on the Hillsborough community, we just felt it would be better to make the temporary repair...and come back and do the permenent repair later," Boone said.

He said the cause of the leak is still under investigation, and probably won't be known until mettalurgical tests can be done to the pipe. When asked if it's possible an electrical charge from a downed power line that touched a vent pipe for the pipeline could cause such a leak, as some people have speculated, Boone would only say that it would be speculating. 

In the statement issued Tuesday, the company thanked "local residents and businesses for their patience and understanding" during the work.

"Buckeye’s Spill Management Team would also like to express its appreciation to local responders as well as state and federal agencies for their assistance and cooperation in working with  the company to successfully mitigate this incident," the company said. "Buckeye thanks , among others, the Hillsborough Township Police, Hillsborough Volunteer Fire Company, Health Department, Municipal Utility Authority and Office of Emergency Management, Manville Fire Department, Somerset County Office of Emergency Management, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, New Jersey Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration."

Boone went further, adding the "assistance and cooperation" of Hillsborough's police, fire and Office of Emergency Management personnel has been "greatly valued."

"Their professionalism and help was incredible," he said. "The community of Hillsborough is in excellent hands with these guys." 

The work continues to affect Route 206 between New Amwell and Amwell roads, however. Travel in both directions is open currently, but with lane shifts as the work is underway. 

This article was updated to include comments from Buckeye spokesman David Boone.

Paul S March 03, 2013 at 03:16 AM
As a concerned resident of H-B I'd like to know when was this pipeline installed and why it was done so right through the middle of town, within only a few feet of residences and business? WHo approved this?

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