A Day in the Life of a Pipeliner
Arnie Rychlicki is a second-generation pipeliner and has worked for Energy Transfer subsidiary Sunoco Pipeline for 36 years after learning everything he could from his father, Stanley.
Stanley Rychlicki began walking pipelines in 1950 for Atlantic Pipeline Corp., which was later acquired by Sunoco, in Berks County, Pennsylvania.
“He saw depression, he was in World War II – and he felt working for the pipeline was a gift to him,” Arnie said of his late father.
Stanley transferred with his family from their hometown in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, to Caledonia, New York, in 1960, becoming a line walker in the Rochester area, “walking the pipeline” to monitor any signs of product release or third-party damage.
After walking an astonishing 15 to 20 miles per day, sometimes in snowshoes, Stanley would have walked so far that Arnie would drive with his mother to pick him up at the end of the line and bring him home. If his mother was too busy taking care of the kids, Arnie said, Stanley would have to hitch hike home.
Arnie still sometimes “drags the line,” driving slowly alongside the right-of-way, but most line patrol is now done from the air by aerial patrol crews. Rather than miles on foot, Arnie puts about 35,000 miles per year on his truck, in all weather conditions.
Much of Arnie’s work revolves around responding to an average of 750 One Calls a month from people or companies who plan to dig to ensure the excavation doesn’t impact the pipeline. He is also on call 24/7, standing ready to respond to concerns including pressure drops, reports of odors, noise or security breaches at pump stations, power outages, water or gas line or pole breaks near the pipeline, and more.
It helps that he lives right down the road from the pump station.
Learn more in this blog post about Arnie’s work, the relationships he’s built with landowners and his lifetime of community service.