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Fuel company defends delay to locate harbour diesel spill

Friday October 25, 2019 Written by Published in Environment
The trench of the fuel pipeline at Avatiu harbour. 19102411 The trench of the fuel pipeline at Avatiu harbour. 19102411

Pacific Energy insists it has the right technology to located pipeline leaks, after criticism over how long it has taken to dig up a stretch of the main road near the harbour.

 

The processes used were standard practice, said Fiu Taukave from Pacific Energy.

“The most basic method yet proven, is to pressure test the line which was done and the leak identified.

“Our response has been technical and compliant with industry standards utilising certified methods of repair and certified personnel.”

The fuel pipeline had been subjected to vibration from above ground activity, because it was under the road. This was what had contributed to the fracture, Taukave said, that caused the diesel oil spillage into Avatiu harbour some weeks ago.

Certified welders repaired the pipeline. The pipeline is cathodic protected and was tested as well as having the pipeline pressure tested to Australia and New Zealand standards.

Underground pipes will experience corrosion, Taukave said, so the company had measures in place to slow that down.

The pipeline’s new concrete encasement would provide added protection throughout the exposed section, but would take until next week to cure.

This was a best practice response in the industry, said Taukave, when a pipeline was within close proximity to other underground utility services and the road. “It certainly provides added protection.”

Following discussions with Infrastructure Cook Islands), the road edge that had eroded was to be filled with a concrete slurry. The boxing would be left on for a week for the minimum concrete curing period.

An inspector from overseas has arrived to complete the hydro testing before covering the rest of trench.

Ports Authority, Ministry of Transport and other Government agencies are conducting their investigations to the ruptured pipeline and fuel leakage into the harbour basin and marina.