Bellingham Gas Explosion Y2K related? A few hints. : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Here are a few links in regards to the explosion. Nothing up front, but I thought there maybe some folk that would be interested in what I found.

It may not be from a Y2K failure but it is a model failure of some kind.

ADB99-03 Potential Service Interruptions


ADVISORY BULLETIN: ADB-99-03 Date: July 7, 1999


Purpose: Inform pipeline system owners and operators of potential operational limitations associated with Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems and the possibility of those problems leading to or aggravating pipeline releases.


Background: During an Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) investigation of a recent pipeline incident, OPS inspectors identified inadequate SCADA
performance as an operational safety concern. Immediately prior to and during the incident, the SCADA system exhibited poor performance that inhibited the pipeline controllers from seeing and reacting to the development of an abnormal pipeline operation.

National alert from pipeline accident


The federal Office of Pipeline Safety issued the warning this week to the 2,000 operators of liquid and natural-gas pipelines in the United States. It urged them to make sure that computer systems used to operate and monitor pipelines are working properly. The advisory details a series of computer failures on June 10 around the time Olympic's 16-inch line leaked up to 277,000 gallons of gasoline into Bellingham creeks. Gasoline vapor later exploded in flames, and two 10-year-old boys and a teenager were killed.

After the accident, Olympic acknowledged that its computer system crashed on the afternoon of the accident. The computer problems may have kept Olympic personnel from reacting quickly to the leak, regulators said.

The computer system is known as SCADA -- supervisory control and data acquisition. Such systems are common in the industry, though they may have been built at different times by different manufacturers.


Monday, August 9, 1999

Senate Y2K Committee


The chemical industry is potentially vulnerable to the Y2K problem on two fronts. First, there is there a great deal of automation in the production, storage, and movement of chemical products. These automated systems may fail in unpredictable and potentially dangerous ways when the year 2000 arrives. Secondly, chemical production and storage facilities are often very dependent on external utilities, especially electricity, water, and telecommunications, for safe operations. There are concerns that failures may occur in one or more of these services in localized areas in the US and in parts of the world where US firms have chemical plants.

A July safety bulletin from the U.S. Department of Transportation provides an example of the vulnerability of the chemical sector to technological problems. Stemming from an investigation into a recent pipeline safety incident involving the transport of hazardous materials, the bulletin warned pipeline operators of potential problems with their computer systems, known as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, which electronically monitor and control pipeline operations. The bulletin said that in one particular situation, the systems had become temporarily "overburdened" as a result of database errors, a lack of reserve computational power in the SCADA processor, and the unusually dynamic changes that occurred during the incident. Operators nationwide were warned to review their own SCADA systems to safeguard against similar problems.

-- Brian (, September 07, 1999


Oh well a blown link, the GPO links seem to be a problem on Greenspun. Must be to long or something.

-- Brian (, September 07, 1999.

Whatever you use, Brian, does something HTML "strange." Tried to fix it.


-- Diane J. Squire (, September 07, 1999.

The Seattle TImes, July 17, 1999, had an article titled, "Pipeline operators sought to boost flow"

Subtitle: "Before blast, Olympic wanted 20% increase"

Article was written "By Brier Dudley, Seattle Times Eastside bureau"

I have the article cut out from the paper but not the time right now to type it in here. Maybe it is on the web? Gotta go to work.

-- J (, September 07, 1999.


Thanks for the clean up. I am doing nothing differant with the GPO links than I have done for the others. Yet they seem to screw up.

Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. I must be a HTML rookie I guess :o)

-- Brian (, September 07, 1999.

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