01/12/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/12/2021 16:41
DALLAS- Jan. 12, 2021- Today the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) held a public hearing to determine the probable cause of the natural gas explosion in Dallas that occurred on Feb. 23, 2018. We again express our deepest sympathies to the Rogers family who remain in our thoughts and prayers.
We appreciate the work of the NTSB, Dallas Fire-Rescue, Dallas Police Department, Texas Railroad Commission, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, and our employees who assisted with the investigation of the accident.
Our number one priority is the safety of the public, our employees, and our natural gas distribution system. Our commitment to safety is evident in our people, policies, practices, and procedures, and we are resolved to learn from this tragic accident.
We are reviewing the complete findings and recommendations released today by the NTSB. We believe that the probable cause is reflected in the NTSB finding that the natural gas main was damaged by excavation equipment.
Unreported third party damage caused the pipe to crack and leak.
The field investigation and lab reports confirm the pipe was dented, gouged, and bent by a third party excavator during the installation of a sewer lateral in 1995 or 1996.
Figure 7 - NTSB Materials Labratory Factual Report 18-067
Figure 5 - Supplement to Atmos Energy Corporation's Proposed Findings, Probable Cause, and Recommendations to the National Transportation Safety Board - February 28, 2020
The pipeline was in otherwise good condition - coated and protected from corrosion - as shown by the examination at the NTSB lab after the accident. NTSB investigators observed a 'hard deposit' - not corrosion - covering a dent and other damaged areas. When the hard deposits were removed, each of the areas contained at least one major gouge in the metal.
But for the unreported damage, the pipe would not have failed.
Figure 8 - NTSB Materials Laboratory Factual Report 18-067 (left) and Figure 11 - NTSB Materials Laboratory Factual Report 18-067 (right)
Damage Prevention Safety Recommendations
Because third party damage remains one of the greatest threats to natural gas distribution systems and we are accountable for delivering safe and reliable service to our customers and our communities, we have been and will continue to be a champion for damage prevention. Excavators should notify 911 and then our emergency line (1.866.322.8667) if they nick, scrape, or dent a natural gas pipeline.
The NTSB recognized that third party damage is a dominant cause of accidents across the industry and that there is work to do. We recommend that the NTSB continue to study ways to further reduce the risk that third party excavation damage goes unreported.
Ongoing Safety Initiatives
We are committed to continuous improvement on our journey to achieve our vision to be the safest provider of natural gas services. Our focus on safety has continued throughout this investigation, including voluntary initiatives to reduce the risk of third party damage to our pipelines.
Our Party Submission to the NTSB, a copy of which can be found on this page containing more information about the investigation, contains additional safety initiatives that Atmos Energy has undertaken.
Important Safety Notices
Visit https://www.texas811.org// for more information about Texas 811 and safe digging practices, and become an 811 ambassador by signing the Atmos Energy 'Pledge to Call 811' at https://www.atmosenergy.com/safety/sign-call-811-pledge.
As always, anyone who thinks they smell natural gas inside their home or neighborhood should Act Fast! Leave the area immediately to call 911 and the Atmos Energy emergency line at 1.866.322.8667.
About Atmos Energy
Atmos Energy Corporation is the nation's largest fully regulated, natural gas-only distributor of safe, clean, efficient, and affordable energy. As part of our vision to be the safest provider of natural gas services, we are modernizing our business and our infrastructure while continuing to invest in safety, innovation, environmental sustainability, and our communities. An S&P 500 company headquartered in Dallas, Atmos Energy serves more than 3 million distribution customers in over 1,400 communities across eight states and manages proprietary pipeline and storage assets, including one of the largest intrastate natural gas pipeline systems in Texas. Find us online at http://www.atmosenergy.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.