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Official Report Concerning I-77 Pipeline Explosion

I-77 Gas Pipeline Blast Blamed on Corrosion and Lack of Inspections

According to a report released on March 10, 2014 by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the major gas line explosion on I-77 near Charleston, WV probably could have been prevented if the pipeline had been inspected or tested, and the fire's severity and duration could have been reduced if automatic shut off valves had been installed.

In December of 2012 a major gas line explosion along I-77 near Sissonville, WV ignited homes in a nearby residential area and shut down all four lanes of traffic. The flames were so hot under I-77 that it melted the concrete. There were no fatalities, but some residents were injured and property was damaged. Flames were shooting up to 75 high as crews shut off the gas supply.

Columbia Gas Transmission Corporation's (the pipeline's owner and operator) response to the rupture was delayed by an inadequate configuration of alerts and the lack of automatic shut-off or remote control valves.Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for I-77 Sissonville gas line explosion.jpg

Investigators found severe external corrosion that reduced the thickness of the pipeline wall to about 30 percent of its original thickness. The 20-inch buried pipeline, which was installed in 1967, had not been inspected or tested since 1988.

The NTSB recommended that Columbia modify its supervisory control and data acquisition system to provide operating trend data that the controller can use to evaluate the significance of a change, and trends that are likely to lead to significant system malfunctions should have an alarm function assigned to them.

Submitted by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC. If you have questions about gas line injuries or property damage issues, contact us today: 304-594-1800 or click here to visit our website to find the answers you need.

Source: The Dominion Post, "Corrosion Blamed for Pipeline Blast," March 11, 2014.

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