RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia state agencies reported Thursday that the Colonial Pipeline system restart happened safely and ahead of schedule. However, it will still take a few days before the fuel supply is back to normal.
In a joint tele-briefing Thursday, several Virginia state agencies gave an update on how the restart is affecting the Commonwealth.
Colonial Pipeline informed the Virginia State Corporation Commission that the restart, which was initiated Wednesday at 6 p.m., happened safely.
By Thursday morning, the commission was told that fuel was moving through the pipeline faster than expected and was estimated to arrive into the Richmond junction facility at noon, according to Scott Marshall, Utility and Railroad Safety Pipeline Program Manager.
Marshall said Colonial is operating the pipeline at 50 percent capacity for at least 48 hours after the restart to make sure things are running safely. If all goes well, it will begin to flow fuel at normal rates as early as 6 p.m. on May 14.
However, it will still take some time for things to return to normal as fuel moves through the 5,500 mile pipeline. For perspective, Marshall said it takes 29 hours for fuel to move from the Richmond area to Northern Virginia.
Members from the state agencies, including the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Department of Transportation, Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and Department of Environmental Quality said the Commonwealth got some help during the outage.
Marshall said while the Colonial Pipeline was shut down, Virginia continued to get fuel supply from three other pipelines that run through the state, including the Plantation and Kinder Morgan interstate pipelines, and the Nustar intrastate pipeline which provides jet fuel to Naval Station Oceana.
He also explained that Colonial restarted parts of its pipeline on May 11 to provide some additional fuel from storage tanks until that supply was exhausted.
In addition, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Quality all said they declared waivers under the State of Emergency which helped moved fuel through the state.