Pipelines are heavily utilized in the DVRPC region. According to the Federal Highway Administration’s Freight Analysis Framework version 3, more than 30 million tons of product was transported by pipeline in the Philadelphia Consolidated Statistical Area (CSA) in 2010. This accounts for almost 10% of all the domestic shipments that either originated in or are destined for the Philadelphia CSA.
Pipelines can be used to move virtually any liquid or gaseous commodity. Pipelines that move oil and petroleum products are usually made from either steel or plastic and can be anywhere from 4 to 48 inches in diameter. The product is kept in motion by pumping stations along the pipeline, with the rate of movement varying from 2 to 13 miles per hour.
Pipelines that move natural gas are made from carbon steel and can be anywhere from 2 to 60 inches in diameter. These pipelines are pressurized which forces the gas through the lines without the need for pumping stations. All gas lines are subject to a build-up of product and damage; because of this, they are regularly cleaned and inspected.
Pipelines generally fall into one of three categories: gathering, transportation, and distribution. Gathering pipelines move product from tanks or wells to a nearby processing facility. Distribution pipelines move products to homes, businesses, tanks, and storage facilities. Transportation pipelines are long, wide pipelines that are used to move products between cities and across countries or continents.
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