Gunns have not provided a risk assessment in their Integrated Impact Assessment of hazardous chemical transport, of the pulp mill generally* or of pipelines carrying water and waste. UK regulations now requires a risk assessment for the transport of all hazardous chemicals. The cost of not doing a risk assessment could be very significant. A range of risks must be considered in building and operating pipelines such as those listed below.
Summary of general pipeline construction and operation risks
1. The accuracy and completeness of knowledge of the pipeline area is critical for measuring risk eg. ground stability and sources of pollution hazards that might affect the operation of the pipeline.
2. Route of the pipeline influences the degree of risk eg densely populated areas present greater risk.
3. Bridges, tunnels, and crossing existing supply pipes or roads, rivers railways etc constitute a significant liability risk. Risks increase when large rivers have to be crossed.
4. Hazards for pipes at sea are greater than on land. The distance of a pipeline from coast, beaches, tourist centres etc and sea currents and wind directions is required to assess the risk of environmental impairment. It is important to know if offshore pipes are to be laid on the seabed or buried as ship’s anchors or nets quite often damage pipelines.
5. Floods following heavy rainfall are a much feared threat in pipeline construction with open trenches. Frequent flooding occurs in pipeline trenches around the world.
6. Pumping and compressor stations present a greater risk of fire and explosion than does the pipe.
7. Some other risks that are normally covered by insurance include negligence by personnel, lightning, pipe fracture, leakage, theft, riot and civil commotion etc.
* A risk study in Gunns’ IIS of chlorine dioxide manufactured on site reports that the hazard stops at the pulp mill boundary fence.
Information sourced from various documents written as guidelines for risk assessors.