Safety Technology – A Little Can Make A Big Difference

Safety Technology – A Little Can Make A Big Difference

Learn how the newest technology, while seemingly small, can have large impacts on both the safety of your natural gas pipeline infrastructure and the public.

As the spring construction season has finally arrived, thoughts of natural gas utilities turn to maintenance, repair, and expansion of their pipeline infrastructure. The natural gas industry and the Department of Transportation’s PHMSA continually monitor and regulate pipeline safety. Utilities, contractors, manufacturers, and supply chain distribution companies like GROEBNER are also committed to the safety of pipeline workers and the surrounding communities. Material suppliers work with their customers to determine the safety and efficiency needs of the industry, advancing technology on an ongoing basis. Pipeline materials and installation are improved, made more effective and safer through technological research.

Often, we see these safety technologies play out in large scale infrastructure changes. But not every advance in safety technology requires major equipment changes and investment. GROEBNER represents multiple manufacturers who offer equipment that can increase the safety of your field workers, your pipelines, and the community at large.

Precise, Secure Pipeline Location

When maintenance or repairs are required, it’s important that your field workers can quickly and accurately locate the buried pipeline. They need to be confident in their location markings. The latest offering from our vendor, Copperhead Industries, is the Two-Terminal Switchable Lid SnakePit® Access Point. The SnakePit Access Point is a protective, at-grade tracer wire termination and grounding station. The switchable lid offers flexibility and ease of use so your field worker doesn’t need to get under the lid in order to easily connect to the tracer wire. This not only speeds data gathering, but keeps the tracer wire system protected throughout the process to ensure accurate locates. The SnakePit Access Point can also be used as an easy access test point for the pipeline system’s anode beds to verify your corrosion protection is functioning properly – all without breaking any wire connections. The SnakePit Access Point helps assure your tracer wire system is protected, your pipeline is located accurately and can be accessed with minimal disruption.

Even with the pipeline located properly, it can be subject to damage because of the large size of excavation equipment. Backhoes and excavators are not intricate instruments that can be used with delicacy. So our vendor, Cumberland Products, has developed an easy “early warning” system to aid excavating operators in avoiding pipelines, while they are actually digging. The Tee’d Up Marker is placed in-ground on the pipeline, extending upward to caution an excavator that the pipe is near when their equipment exposes the marker. Even before a shovel hits the dirt, the Tee’d Up Marker makes it easy to pinpoint the pipe location from above ground by using a standard metal locator to find the magnet embedded in the top of the marker. This easy-to-install marker design accommodates multiple applications – PE, steel, and PVC pipes and fittings. With its simple installation, the Tee’d Up Marker is an excellent fail-safe tool for your pipeline protection.

Damage Prevention on PE Pipe Installations

Trenchless installment of pipeline, through horizontal drilling, offers great advantages. These include minimized disturbance to local surroundings and ecology, as well as time and money savings. Trenchless installment entails pulling the pipeline into place through a bored hole, which potentially could exert a great deal of force on the PE pipe if not done properly. Our vendor, Cumberland Products, offers the Weak Link P20 to help protect your pipe during this installation process. The Weak Link is designed to yield to a force of approximately 20% less than the normal tensile strength of PE pipe. The Weak Link is installed on the leading edge of the pipe being pulled and ensures the connection to the installation equipment will give way before the point in which the PE pipe is compromised. Using the Weak Link P20 ensures a safe and reliable system is installed keeping the community safe.

Protection from Compromised Meter Sets

Another area where natural gas lines can be susceptible to breakage or breaching is at the meter. In high traffic or high snow areas, for example, a perfectly installed pipeline is still exposed to potential breakage at the above ground meter set. Accidental vehicle impacts or heavy weight can cause the meter set to break and expose the area to escaping gas. Here’s where our vendor, OPW Global, and their new product can save your system and people from potential danger. The OPW Natural Gas Safety Breakaway Valve provides instant and effective protection from escaping gas at meter sets that are at a higher risk for impact or damage. In case of a hard impact or excessive weight on the meter, the Safety Breakaway Valve is the engineered weak point of the meter set and immediately seals, stopping the flow of natural gas until a repair can be made. The Safety Breakaway Valve works in conjunction with bollards or can be used on its own in areas where bollards aren’t practical. This seemingly simple addition to your at risk meter sets can make a major difference to the safety of the public.

Fast, Safe Pipeline Leak Repair

Our industry has become safer with new leak detection technology pinpointing smaller leaks than ever before. And when that happens, for everyone’s safety, the leak must be repaired as quickly and straightforwardly as possible. GROEBNER’s vendor, PERC, offers an excellent repair solution – LLFA Tape. This new repair method is a self-fusing, silicone based tape that requires no additional adhesives. Once applied, the tape fuses with itself, making a durable seal that can be used for either temporary or long-term repair of pipeline. With simple training the repairs can be made quickly without service interruption to the customer. Incorporating the use of LLFA Tape into everyday operations could minimize truck rolls and offer costs savings while minimizing the utility carbon footprint. LLFA Tape gives you live leak sealing for <150 psi on PE, steel, copper, cast iron, and more materials. LLFA Tape brings new advantages – a stronger, faster-fusing seal; greater resistance to tears and abrasion; and easier application. LLFA Tape offers you unmatched system and personnel safety.

Partnerships for Pipeline Safety

GROEBNER knows how important natural gas pipeline safety is to you, your customers, and their surrounding communities. We work hard to ensure we and our vendor network are partnering with you in this most important aspect of your business. We can offer you the latest in technology solutions from the most technical to the simplest elements of your pipeline systems. As we’ve shown you here, smaller investments can have major benefits to the safety within your natural gas pipeline network. GROEBNER’s expert sales team will make sure you partner with the right manufacturers to determine and fulfill your technology needs. Contact us today so we can help you increase your ongoing safety efforts.