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October 7, 2016 11:15 AM, EDT

PHMSA Awards Universities Grants for Pipeline Safety Research

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News

Three universities will examine ways to improve pipeline safety with the help of a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s pipelines division announced this week.

Iowa State, West Virginia and North Dakota State will share $900,000 from the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Specifically, Iowa State will research corrosion cracking in high-strength pipeline steel. West Virginia will focus on glass fiber reinforced polymer composite pipes and joints; and North Dakota State will develop and implement high-performance, multifunctional composite coatings meant for lifetime prevention or mitigation of internal pipeline corrosion, according to DOT.

The grants stem from PHMSA’s competitive academic agreement program, which has awarded $3.9 million since 2013.

“PHMSA’s CAAP projects are focused on developing new innovation to solve our most pressing safety concerns.” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said.

“Corrosion is one of the top causes of pipeline failures, and we’re committed to investing in innovative technologies that will strengthen our nation’s pipeline system well into the future,” PHMSA Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez said.

Last month, DOT’s Office of Inspector General initiated an audit on another PHMSA grant program, the pipeline safety technical assistance grant. The audit is required under a 2016 pipeline safety law.