Thursday, August 13, 2009

Williams Transco fined almost $1 million for Virginia pipeline accident

WASHINGTON - Almost a year after a natural gas pipeline explosion rocked Appomattox, Va., federal authorities have issued a proposed fine of almost $1 million following an investigation that found safety regulation violations.
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration levied a $952,500 fine on Williams Gas Pipeline after investigators found possible failures to "address regulatory requirements for monitoring and preventing external corrosion," according to an agency news release issued Aug. 10.
One of three pipelines operated by the Williams-owned Transco line ruptured and the natural gas release then ignited on Sept. 14, 2008, injuring five people, leveling two homes and damaging about 100 other houses. The resulting fireball scorched land some 1,125 feet away.
Investigators determined that external corrosion caused the line to rupture.
Chris Stockton, spokesperson for Williams, said it has been notified of the violation and is working with the oversight agency to implement its recommendations.

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