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Pipeline explosion in Washington Parish points to CP system failure as possible cause

posted Jul 30, 2013, 6:45 PM by Unknown user
Back in June 2013, a pre-dawn gas line explosion shook residents out of their beds in a rural, wooded area of Washington Parish. An 80-foot section of 30-inch pipeline ruptured at early morning on 26th June. It is reported that the gas pipeline is owned by Florida Gas.

About 55 homes were evacuated until owner Florida Gas Transmission shut off the pipeline, snuffing the blaze, and a crew was sent from Houston to find out why the pipe ruptured. Slightly more than a month away from this explosive incident, while the site of the pipeline explosion looks as black and bare as it did, a required incident report from pipeline owner Florida Gas Transmission gives a new look at what may have happened.

The report, submitted to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, or PHMSA, indicates the apparent cause as corrosion failure. While that information is preliminary, some in the community say it's a concern, but not a surprise.

"Anytime we're dealing with corrosion and we're talking about something that's soon to be 50 years old, I've got some questions about that," said Washington Parish OEP Director Tommy Thiebaud.

Also at issue is the Cathodic Protection Survey, which is required to control corrosion of buried pipelines. The gas company states in the report that the ruptured area hadn't received a survey since 2009, but now says that was an error which is being corrected. Florida Gas says it was actually surveyed four months before the explosion.

PHMSA records show, other than the pipeline rupture in Pride, Florida Gas Transmission has had four other incidents, out of 17 since 2006, where corrosion was suspected or determined as the cause.

Florida Gas Transmission told Eyewitness News in a statement, “Our integrity program is dedicated to ensuring all of our pipelines are in full compliance with all applicable rules and regulations. In many cases, the testing done under this program is above and beyond what is required. The safety of the people and the safety of communities in which we live and work is very important to us. We are doing everything we can to make sure that we take care of this situation quickly and efficiently,” said the company.

The investigating agency says the official failure report can take as long as 20 months to be completed.

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