Texas to scrutinize polyethylene pipe use


The Texas Railroad Commission is expected to consider whether it should change its rules for installation of polyethylene pipe.

TRC Chairman Michael Williams said he would urge the other commissioners to order the review of the commission�s pipeline safety program. He said TRC should consider if it needs to change the qualifications of polyethylene pipe installers and collect data on manufacturers, installation dates, pipeline dimensions, and pipe batches.

Williams� recommendations followed TRC�s release of a report on a Jan. 14, 2000, explosion of a Garland, Tex., house served by TXU Gas Co. The study concluded the probable cause of the explosion was the accumulation of natural gas escaping from a crack where two pieces of polyethylene pipe had been fused.

TRC said Texas Utilities has a program under way to replace all first-generation polyethylene pipe in its system with a newer pipe. Williams will urge TRC to order the company to replace all the older pipe in its system by Dec. 31.

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