Sunday, April 9, 2017

Federal pipeline regulators are investigating a third recent leak from the Steelhead platform in Cook Inlet

Federal regulators say they are investigating a third Hilcorp pipeline leak in Cook Inlet

Author: Alex DeMarban
Updated: 12 hours ago

Federal pipeline regulators said Friday they are investigating a third recent leak from a subsea pipeline in Cook Inlet — this one involving produced natural gas from a pipeline at the Steelhead platform — although the platform operator said Friday that several helicopter flights spotted no release.

Darius Kirkwood, a spokesman with the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, said the agency confirmed on Friday that there was a leak.

And Hilcorp Alaska, the operator, said in a statement that flights were conducted after gas meters reported a "discrepancy" in the volume of gas shipped from the Steelhead platform to a shore-based processing facility on the west side of Cook Inlet. The discrepancy was between a meter on the platform side of the pipe and a meter on the shore side.

"As a precaution, we started emptying the (Steelhead) A pipeline of natural gas on Saturday, and that process was completed early Monday morning," Hilcorp said in a statement released by Lori Nelson, external affairs manager at Hilcorp Alaska. "The line now contains filtered seawater."

"There is no risk of the discharge of oil or gas into the Inlet with the line in its current state," Hilcorp's statement said.

Nelson said she did not know the size of the "discrepancy." The company's announcement did not state whether a leak had occurred.

The announcement comes as the company faces increased scrutiny from watchdog groups and state and federal regulators.

On Feb. 7, Hilcorp discovered a natural gas leak from a pipeline delivering fuel gas to Platform A northwest of Nikiski.

Also, on Saturday, workers on the Anna platform in western Cook Inlet discovered a small release of crude oil following what felt like a violent impact of a natural object to the platform. Several sheens and bubbles were spotted. Hilcorp quickly shut down oil production at the Anna platform and filled that line with filtered seawater to stop oil from leaking.

Inspections of the oil line, including an integrity review from inside the pipe in June, found that line to be in sound condition, Hilcorp said Friday.

"Additionally, the small volume of the release (estimated to be less than 3 gallons) suggests that the pipeline may not be the root cause" of the sheen, the company said. "Whether the cause is found to be the pipeline or otherwise, appropriate action will be taken."

Hilcorp said Friday that the leaking natural gas line to Platform A, in the Middle Ground Shoal field, prompted the company to begin a comprehensive review of all its pipelines in Cook Inlet. The review included the pipeline at the Steelhead platform.

The Steelhead platform was built in 1986. The pipeline delivers natural gas from the Trading Bay Unit to a production facility on the west side of Cook Inlet.

The causes of the leaks are not known, but many of the platforms and related facilities were built decades ago starting in the mid-1960s, prompting critics to suggest that aging facilities in the silty, fast-moving corrosive water is a key factor. Hilcorp began acquiring properties in Cook Inlet in 2011 and is now the dominant producer there. Conservation groups are seeking an inspection by regulators to assess the condition of all facilities in the Inlet.

Hilcorp plans to send divers down as early as Saturday to begin repairing the leaking gas line northwest of Nikiski, if conditions permit. Sea ice has prevented repairs so far this winter by the threat it posed to divers' surface tethers.

Kirkwood, with PHMSA, said he didn't have estimates of the latest leak on Friday.

"I can confirm the pipeline was shut down and that we are investigating," he said.

Hilcorp said it will "leave the line (at Steelhead) filled with seawater until a later time when we are able to further investigate and address the meter discrepancy."

A weekend water main break is causing major headaches for more than 40,000 people in Lackawanna County, PA

Water Main Break Affects More Than 40,000 Homes & Businesses
Repairs expected to take most of weekend

By: Lauren Hensley

Updated: Apr 08, 2017 08:08 PM EDT

DUNMORE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) -- A weekend water main break is causing major headaches for many people in Lackawanna County. More than 40,000 customers are impacted after a water supply pipe burst.

It was early Saturday morning when Del and Ann Marie Pierce learned they had no water. When asked what the couple was going to do about a shower, Mrs. Pierce laughed and replied, "We're going to be dirty." Little did they know a water main break happened right across from their Mill Street home in Dunmore. But lucky for the Pierces, their neighbor still has water. Mrs. Pierce said, "We're getting water off the man next door. I can't understand how we don't have water and he does."

Pennsylvania American Water says more than 40,000 customers are impacted by the water main break but that doesn't mean everyone is without water. Some people have it but as Martin Rosario Rafalko of Dunmore said, "Mine is murky but I got water. Most of the complex does have it."

Pennsylvania American Water says if you have water you should boil it before drinking it. The water main break happened inside a building which is a pump station on Mill Street. Crews worked to turn a valve to shut off the 42 inch pipe.

In the meantime, water buffalos were set up throughout Dunmore, Scranton, Dickson City and beyond so those without water can still get what they need. While an inconvenience, many are still keeping a positive attitude like Stephen Elboli of Dunmore who said, "Oh, we'll survive. We'll survive. Yeah, without water, you think of the poor people in foreign countries that don't even have any water. We're fortunate to have the buffalos here and we are fortunate enough that we can help our neighbors to get through the situation."

Pennsylvania American Water repair work was expected to last into Sunday and is updating progress on its website. You can also call 800-565-7292 for the latest information.

Businesses in Dunmore are also feeling the impact. The tables and chairs at Nardozzi's Pizza were empty on a Saturday night when the restaurant should be packed with customers. The shop typically opens at 5 p.m. but will remain closed until the water main break is repaired.

Nardozzi's Pizza co-owner Michael Hayes acknowledged that the restaurant had low water pressure which was not enough to make the dough to serve up slices. "It could be anywhere from a day or two or longer until we can get water out. What we're focusing on now is trying to get gallons of water out to people in town especially the elderly if they do need water. We put some information out on social media to try to help people in town," he said.

Mr. Hayes said as soon as repairs to the water main were made, Nardozzi's would reopen and, in the meantime, would post updates on its website.

For other businesses in and around Dunmore, you may want to call ahead to double check if they are open.

A rollerblader was killed, and five other people were injured by a speeding car in Brooklyn, NYC

Sunday, April 09, 2017 01:29AM
BROWNSVILLE, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A rollerblader was killed, and five other people were injured after an out-of-control crash in Brooklyn.

The accident happened shortly after 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Pitkin Avenue and Powell Street in Brownsville.

Police say a four-door sedan was traveling at a high rate of speed, and struck a male crossing the street on roller blades at the corner of Powell Street and Glenmore Avenue.

The driver of the sedan then kept going and struck two more vehicles. Officials say he continued to the intersection and hit two more vehicles, and two more parked cars. The driver of the sedan then jumped out of the car and fled on foot.

Eyewitness News saw a man get taken into custody, but police have not yet confirmed whether it was the driver who caused the killing of the pedestrian and the crash.

Goodwill fined $100K after Abraham Nicholas Garza died when his head was crushed while helping check the alignment of a heavy metal bin and a trash compactor.

Goodwill fined more than $100K after worker crushed to death

Dave Goudie, a former Goodwill employee who witnessed the death of Abraham Garza, said the young father's death could have been prevented with proper training. Cal-OSHA has hit Sacramento Goodwill with more than $100,000 in fines for safety violations. Hector Amezcua The Sacramento Bee

By Marjie Lundstrom

Serious and willful safety violations by Goodwill in Sacramento led to the grisly death last year of a 26-year-old loading dock worker at one of its outlet stores, say state regulators who issued six citations and more than $100,000 in fines against the giant nonprofit.

Cal-OSHA, the state’s workplace safety agency, chastised the charity for what it called its failure to train workers at its Franklin Boulevard outlet store in the use of dangerous equipment. The charity also failed to adequately respond to an employee’s written warnings about hazardous working conditions, according to the state’s findings from a six-month investigation.

Abraham Nicholas Garza died Sept. 30 when his head was crushed while helping check the alignment of a heavy metal bin and a trash compactor.

A former Goodwill employee who witnessed the accident said he had tried to warn management about dangerous conditions, verbally and in writing. He blames the death in part on Goodwill’s culture that he said places “profits over people.”

“It’s a money tree,” said the former employee, 56-year-old Dave Goudie.

Goodwill blames Goudie for Garza’s death.

“Goodwill definitely grieves over the tragedy of this accident,” said Goodwill spokeswoman Karen McClaflin. “But this was caused by the negligence of one employee.”

In its findings, Cal-OSHA placed the responsibility for the accident on Goodwill Industries of Sacramento Valley & Northern Nevada. Cal-OSHA spokesman Peter Melton characterized the state’s action against the charity as “significant.”

“It’s serious,” said Melton. “Any time someone is killed on the job, it’s serious. This is why OSHA exists, basically – to prevent and correct these situations that put workers in danger.”

The state’s proposed penalties total $106,675. The most severe citation, which came with a $70,000 fine, was deemed to be “willful-serious” – meaning the employer was aware of a hazardous condition and did not take reasonable steps to address it. In California, a citation categorized as “willful” exposes an employer to possible criminal prosecution.

“None of the authorized employees including (Garza) were provided training in the safe operation of the compactors at the front and back loading dock areas,” Cal-OSHA concluded in its report.

The Cal-OSHA report also said the charity failed to correct “unsafe or unhealthy conditions,” left dangerous moving parts of machinery unguarded, and had no written procedures for the safe operation of the compactor and mobile collection equipment.

Goodwill spokeswoman McClaflin said Friday the organization is appealing the four serious citations, saying “we operate very safely and efficiently here.”

“We recognize the seriousness of the action, but we don’t believe we deserve the citations that came along with it,” said McClaflin, the chief development officer.

She said the organization does have training programs and manuals in place and has expanded its safety department.

Goudie said he met Abraham Garza for the first time on Sept. 30, minutes before the young man was fatally injured when a truck driver released a cable holding the trash bin, pinning his skull between the bin and the compactor.

Sacramento Fire was dispatched at 1:39 p.m. to the front loading dock of the outlet store, where a jumble of cast-offs are sold by the pound from giant plastic tubs inside. It is one of two Goodwill outlets in the Sacramento region that operate stationary waste compactors, which are continuously fed refuse and goods that couldn’t be sold.

Garza, who had been working at the Goodwill outlet at 6648 Franklin Blvd. for only a month, was pronounced dead at 2:39 p.m at UC Davis Medical Center.

Goudie, a commercial driver, said he had an “intuitive sense of urgency” weeks before Garza’s death. He said he began complaining verbally in August about unsafe conditions and risks to untrained employees. On Aug. 25, five weeks before the accident, he put his fears in writing, giving his memo first to his immediate boss on Franklin Boulevard, then forwarding it a short time later to the corporate safety officer at headquarters, he said.

He titled his memo “Employee Workplace Safety Hazard Notification.” At the time of Garza’s death, he had been working for Goodwill for about six months and was on the waste management team.

“Based on my personal observations, most employees now operating compactors at each plant have not received the required training,” he wrote in the Aug. 25 memo. “This exposes Goodwill Industries to fines in the tens of thousands of dollars from Cal-OSHA and, should an employee become injured or killed as a result of this lack of training, civil damages could climb into the millions.

“All of that massive liability exposure is completely UNNECESSARY if the required training is made mandatory by company leadership and reporting supervisors are held accountable for failures to do so.”

The state acknowledged an unnamed employee’s efforts to warn Goodwill management about safety concerns, concluding that the organization “did not diligently assess the hazard exposure of untrained compactor operators.”

Goudie told The Bee Friday he still is in disbelief that he wound up being an eyewitness to the tragedy, standing less than 10 feet from Garza when his head was crushed. He later learned that Garza was the father of a 7-year-old child.

“I had to watch this poor kid’s head get crushed,” he said. “It was very traumatic.

“As a father myself, I was outraged. On top of that, I had to witness the very thing I’d been dogging them about.”

Garza’s relatives have not responded to Bee requests for an interview.

Goodwill has turned the tables, pointing the finger at Goudie. Spokeswoman McClaflin said she is limited by what she can publicly say about a “personnel matter” but stated that the tragedy was not Goodwill’s fault.

“We did our own investigation and determined that this employee was negligent in the situation, and he was terminated,” she said.

Goudie strongly disputed that characterization. He said Garza appeared on the scene while he was checking the equipments’ alignment and he asked the young man to check the alignment on the opposite side. He said he was horrified when Garza inexplicably stuck his head between the bin and compactor and then, suddenly, the cable securing the bin was released by the truck’s driver.

Goudie, who cooperated with Cal-OSHA investigators on the day of the accident and in follow-up interviews, acknowledged that he was fired about a week later and banned from the premises. He said he was told that he had violated safety procedures.

“Excuse me, what safety procedures? There weren’t any,” said the former employee, who said he believes his dismissal was retaliatory for his in-house complaints and cooperation with Cal-OSHA.

Sacramento Goodwill, headquartered at 8001 Folsom Blvd., says on its website that its primary mission is to provide “job training and placement for the disabled and disadvantaged, and vocational access …” Its territory includes 16 counties in Northern California and 13 in Nevada.

In the last 15 years, Goodwill Industries of Sacramento Valley and Northern Nevada has experienced meteoric growth and a surge in executive salaries, according to a Bee examination of the group’s financial records. For consumers, the most visible evidence is the proliferation of “Donation Xpress” stores, drop-off points that have sprung up like dandelions in neighborhoods across the region.

The organization’s stores appeal to diverse populations, from outlets that sell goods for $1.49 a pound to a chic boutique near the Capitol with designer labels.

With the expansion, big money followed. The Sacramento-based Goodwill operation has gone from $6.8 million in gross revenue in 2002 to $68 million in 2015 – a 10-fold increase.

The top executive, Joseph R. Mendez, earned $423,786 in 2015, up from $93,826 in 2002, according to the group’s IRS Forms 990. Adjusted for inflation, that equates to a 240 percent pay bump.

During that same period, total assets went from about $4.9 million to $74 million.

McClaflin acknowledges that the organization has enjoyed tremendous success and growth, which she says has helped Goodwill forge partnerships with other nonprofits.

“Goodwill does a lot in this community,” she said. “We grieve, obviously, over the employee’s death.

“The additional tragedy is that this is a diversion of community funds. I hope it can be resolved without the fines.”

Cal-OSHA spokesman Melton said the appeals process will likely begin before an administrative law judge. After that, the employer has the option of requesting additional reconsideration by the three-member Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board, which is appointed by the governor.

Worker in a man-lift cleaning the Danville Christian Church gutters was electrocuted to death in Indiana

A man in a construction lift was electrocuted Saturday afternoon in downtown Danville, a police spokesman said.

The man, who was not immediately identified, was a contractor working at Danville Christian Church near Jefferson and Main streets, said Danville Police public information officer Nate Lien.

The man was in a lift when he made contact with a high-voltage power line and was later pronounced dead, Lien said.

The as-yet unidentified contractor, who was in his 50s, came into contact with the line while he working on the church gutters.

"It just appears it's a tragic accident at this point," Lien said.

Hendricks Power was on the scene to check the lines, he added. The death investigation is ongoing.

Keri Beavers, who is a member of the church, said she lives less than a block away and was home when the incident happened.

"All you heard was a loud bang and then the whole town lost power for a few minutes," Beavers said. "I wasn't sure what had happened or where it came from until the fire department was there."

She said there were some people at the church, including the victim, who were getting things ready for Palm Sunday. She said she was told it happened very quickly.

"This was just a very scary and tragic accident," Beavers said.

A construction worker was killed and three others were injured after drunk driver drove onto the north emergency lane on I-20 and hit the construction crew in Carroll County, GA

Lauren Foreman The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
11:04 a.m. Friday, April 7, 2017 Atlanta News

One person was hit and killed Friday on westbound I-20 in Carroll County. (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

Story Highlights
  • The crash in Carroll County shut down westbound lanes for more than two hours.
  • Three other construction workers were injured in the crash.
  • Officials have not specified if the driver was under the influence of alcohol, drugs or something else.
  • The driver of a car that plowed into a construction site on I-20 early Friday may have been impaired, the Georgia State Patrol said.

A construction worker was killed and three others were injured in the crash, which shut down westbound lanes of I-20 in Carroll County for more than two hours.

About 3:10 a.m., a westbound Honda Civic drove onto the north emergency lane and hit the construction crew members, who were working between the interstate and the exit ramp for Ga. 61, according to the GSP.

One of the construction workers was pronounced dead on the scene. Two others were taken to a hospital in Atlanta, one by air and the other by ambulance. A fourth construction worker was treated and released from Tanner Medical Center in Villa Rica.

The driver, who had to be freed from the mangled Civic, was flown to an Atlanta hospital, the GSP said.

While authorities suspect the driver was impaired, they have not specified if the driver was under the influence of alcohol, drugs or something else. 


VILLA RICA, Ga. -- A construction worker was killed and several others were injured Friday morning after a car plowed through a construction zone on Interstate 20 in Villa Rica, Friday morning.

According to the Georgia State Patrol, a Honda Civic was traveling westbound around 3:10 a.m. and drove into the northbound emergency lane and struck four people from a road crew that was working between the interstate and the exit ramp for GA 61 (exit 24).

A GSP spokesperson said the driver of the car was impaired at the time of the crash. Emergency responders airlifted both the driver and one worker to a local hospital, however that worker was later pronounced dead.

The surviving workers are now in stable condition. Another worker, who was taken to Tanner Villa Rica hospital, has since been discharged. Police are not yet releasing identities of those involved.

According to GSP, the construction workers were GDOT subcontractors working for a Florida-based company called Olympus Painting and were doing sanding and painting on the roadway before the crash.

Investigators are going to be recreating the scene and getting more information on speed of the vehicle before the crash.


-Georgia Department of Transportation Update--

The Georgia Department of Transportation alerts the traveling public about the ongoing bridge reconstruction project still affecting Interstate 20 traffic near Exit 90 this weekend.

Olympus Painting Contractors will continue bridge joint repair and replacement on the I-20 bridge over the railroad and Old Atlanta Highway (CR 55). The contractor must temporarily close traffic on Old Atlanta Highway for 24 hours beginning at 9 p.m. Friday, August 14 to 9 p.m. Saturday, August 15 related to the bridge joint work.

Also, the inside and middle lanes, along with the off-ramp, will be closed on I-20 westbound from mile 91 to mile 90. The time frame of continuous work runs from 9 p.m. Friday, August 14 until 5 a.m. Monday, August 17.

Approved signage and message boards will alert the public to the Old Atlanta Highway closure and accompanying 4-mile detour. Motorists will utilize Cook Road, Moore Street and SR 81 for the detour. Access to local businesses will be maintained.

This $3.3 million dollar maintenance job on the two interstate bridges crossing SR 12 and the Old Atlanta Highway includes reconstruction of new joint headers in the bridge deck; edge beam and end wall reconstruction; installation of bridge joints; spall repairs of the substructure; epoxy injection into substructure cracks; cap strengthening; repaired slope paving and painting of the existing steel substructure.


(727) 942-4149

Olympus Painting

28 years in business 556 Anclote Rd
Tarpon Springs, FL 34689-6701

BBB File Opened: 05/03/2004
Business Started: 01/01/1989

Type of Entity Corporation

Contact Information
Principal: Nicholas Mavromatis

Business Category
Industrial Painting

Products & Services This company provides industrial and bridge painting services.