Williams-Transco Minimizes Magnitude of Hurricane Sandy, Chance of Damage to Rockaway Line From A Similar StormMay 22nd, 2013 | By Mark | Category: Lead Articles, NYC Natural Gas Infrastructure
Noting that Hurricane Sandy was technically not quite a 100-year-storm, engineers and executives at Williams-Transco assured concerned state and federal regulators recently that the natural gas pipeline they propose to run through coastal wetlands and recreation areas near Coney Island faces only a small risk of being damaged by flooding in a similar natural disaster.
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Transco officials made the assurances in a May 20 response to an April 4 request from the New York Department of State for more information about how the company’s proposed Rockaway Lateral Line would withstand a storm similar to Hurricane Sandy.
Hurricane Sandy struck the Atlantic mid-coast on Oct. 29, bringing sustained winds of up to 115 m.p.h, killing nearly 300 people and causing damages currently estimated to exceed $750 billion worldwide.
The coastal area identified by Williams-Transco as the preferred path of their proposed Rockway Lateral Line – a 26-inch, high-pressure natural gas pipeline that would run across wetlands in Jamaica Bay, through Jacob Riis Park beach and Floyd Bennett Field, where a new compressor station would be built, and on into Brooklyn near Flatbush Ave – was among those hardest hit by the storm.
The risk of flood damage from a similar storm, Williams officials stated, is .2 percent per year
From the Williams-Transco response to the April 4, 2013 request from the NY Department of State:
The “Coney Island NE” ABFE map includes provisional measurements of Hurricane Sandy storm surge elevations for locations on the Rockaway Peninsula. These elevations were slightly lower than the 100-year base flood elevations identified for the associated flood zones on the ABFE (ed. note: Advisory Base Flood Elevation) map. This suggests that Hurricane Sandy did not quite qualify as a 100-year storm surge event based on the ABFE map.
However, the response continues, in the event of a storm that actually is a 100-year event, the pipeline’s electrical equipment – critical to the safe operation of the pipeline – would be out of harm’s way because,
“based on the current M&R Facility (ed. note: Metering & Regulation) design, all wiring and electrical components such as generators would be located at least 1 foot above the current floor elevation … This is expected to limit risk of significant equipment damage due to flooding … “
Non-electrical equipment, such as the offshore pipeline would not be “significantly affected by flooding.”
The notion of how other phenomena associated with a similar storm, such as wind or scouring of the ocean floor, would affect the Rockaway Lateral line remained uncontemplated in the Williams-Transco response.
You can read the entire Williams-Transco response here: Williams Response to NYDept of State Info Request