A buried secret runs beneath the marshy soil in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

Many South Florida residents don’t realize a 35-mile-long
jet-fuel pipeline runs across Broward and Miami-Dade counties, but it’s a
crucial lifeline for Miami International Airport.




A buried secret runs beneath the marshy soil in Broward and Miami-Dade
counties.

The Everglades Pipeline, which runs from Port Everglades to Miami International
Airport, transmits jet fuel that powers nearly all the planes at Miami International
Airport.

The line traces a 35-mile arc west from Port Everglades, through Fort Lauderdale,
Dania Beach, Cooper City, Pembroke Pines, Miramar and Hialeah before ending
up at the airport.

The pipe measures 10 inches in diameter and runs four feet underground,
coming near neighborhoods and houses but never directly beneath them.

The buried secret isn’t really a secret at all — officials at Everglades
Pipeline Co. and its parent, Buckeye Partners, say they want to raise awareness
of the line, but most Broward residents don’t realize it exists.

”People close to us know we’re there, but John Q. Public doesn’t know
we’re out there,” said pipeline supervisor Robert Clabaugh.

Clabaugh says transmitting fuel via pipeline, rather than trucks, improves
road safety and eases traffic congestion.

The pipeline pumps about 55,000 barrels of fuel to MIA each day. If the
same load were sent on the road, it would require 367 truck trips a day between
Port Everglades and the Miami-Dade airport.

Sending fuel via pipeline allows airlines to save money and keep ticket
prices down, Clabaugh said.

”We’re a lot cheaper transportation than what a normal truck could take,”
he said.

Extensions of the line also send fuel to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International
Airport, the Florida East Coast Railway yards and area utility plants.

PIPELINE GUARDED

Security guards regularly patrol the line, and the company works with the
FBI to monitor terrorism threats, though Clabaugh says the fuel pipe is generally
seen as an unlikely target.

”We’re probably not a glamorous enough target,” he said. The line’s resilience
is another factor — repairs are easy.

”[Terrorists] could do something to us and we’ll probably be back running
in 48 hours,” Clabaugh said.

The Office of Pipeline Safety, a branch of the federal Department of Transportation,
oversees all buried lines in the United States and requires inspections every
two years.

According to OPS spokesman Damon Hill, the Everglades line has never shown
significant problems.

Since it began operating in 1959, the Everglades Pipeline has existed quietly.
Fuel flow was halted once in 1989, when workers pierced the line while digging
an irrigation canal on the former Waldrep Dairy site near Stirling Road and
Sheridan Street.

SAFETY THREAT

The housing and population boom in western Broward and Dade is the greatest
threat to pipeline safety.

Careless diggers who do not check before they shovel cause the most damage
to the line, said Roy Haase, rights-of-way manager for Buckeye Pipeline.
For that reason, the pipeline has a message for all South Florida residents,
no matter their address: Call before you dig.

Florida residents planning a digging project can call 800-432-4770 to notify
all utilities in the area of the project. Utility representatives will then
come to locate and mark buried lines.

EASTWARD MOVE

Later this year, a portion of the line will be moved eastward near University
Drive to accommodate Monterra, a 1,900-home development proposed for the
old Waldrep Dairy site.

The move, which Monterra’s developer, TOUSA Inc. will pay for, is expected
to take three months once work begins, possibly later this year, Clabaugh
said.

The move will likely cost TOUSA more than $1 million, Haase said — building
or rebuilding hazardous-liquids pipelines isn’t easy.

”It’s not just a pipe in the ground,” Haase said. “It’s much more than
that.”

Source : www.miami.com