The ABC15 Investigators have uncovered new information about a brand of natural gas pipeline with a history of cracking across the desert Southwest, including right here in Arizona.
In early May, we told you about the history of documented incidents involving Driscopipe M8000, including cases of degradation and leaks.
Since then, the ABC15 Investigators have learned 16 new leaks have now been confirmed.
The findings were uncovered in a list Southwest Gas provided to the to the Arizona Corporation Commission’s Safety Division during its quarterly meeting on May 13.
Southwest Gas confirms there are a total of 57 documented leaks, most of them occurring in Arizona, many right here in the valley.
Southwest also confirms there have been at least three dozen instances where Driscopipe M8000 has shown signs of degradation that did not result in leaks.
Multiple reports obtained by the ABC15 Investigators found the likely root of the problem is not going away, Arizona’s heat.
The U.S. Department of Transportation issued an advisory warning Driscopipe M8000 can degrade.
Later the pipe’s manufacturer issued two reports of its own, identifying increased pipe temperature as a big factor in the degradation process.
When asked, both Southwest Gas and the Corporation Commission Safety Division, said a full-scale replacement of the 11,000 miles of Driscopipe M8000 in Arizona is not yet warranted.
Instead, Southwest says it stepped up inspection of the pipe, checking all of it at least once a year for signs of degradation.
Federal regulations only require inspections every five years.