beforeUdig: airport chaos could have been avoided

New Zealand’s underground utility referral service says the chaos of a ruptured an oil pipeline was avoidable.

According to New Zealand’s underground utility referral service, beforeUdig, the chaos caused after a digger ruptured an oil pipeline in September could’ve been avoided, had the excavator utilised its free service.

Refining NZ, the pipeline operator, has not commented on whether there was clear signage at the site where the pipeline was damaged informing people of its presence.

Stuff reported that there was speculation that the signage may have become overgrown.

The publication quoted beforeUdig Country Manager Phil Cornforth as saying digger operations can check whether there is buried infrastructure in area they plan to excavate in less than 5 minutes.

On the assumption the damage was caused by a contractor, Mr Cornforth said, “Had this operator followed the law and best practice we would not be in this situation now.”

The damage to the fuel pipeline, which supplies jet fuel to Auckland Airport, was discovered in Ruakaka on 14 September.

It resulted dozens of cancelled flights, reroutes and delays at New Zealand’s largest airport; there were also reports that some petrol stations in Auckland’s surrounding suburbs had run out of petrol.

The pipeline was out of service for 10 days while it was repaired, costing Air New Zealand an estimated NZ$200,000 (AU$218,000) to NZ$300,000 (AU$328,000) a day.

beforeUdig is an online service that enables anyone in New Zealand undertaking excavation works to obtain information on the location of underground pipes and cables in and around any proposed dig site.

The service is designed to help to protect those digging as well as the valuable assets that could be affected during these works.

For more information visit beforeUdig website.

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