Thursday, May 13, 2010

Minnesota stiffens gas pipeline rules following sewer line blast

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - State safety officials on May 10 issued new requirements, effective immediately, for documenting the safe installation of gas lines.
The requirements from the Department of Public Safety Office of Pipeline Safety were sent to all 57 gas distribution operators in Minnesota three months after a contractor hit an Xcel Energy pipeline and caused a blast that destroyed a house in St. Paul, Minn.
Pipeline safety director Jerry Rosendahl said on May 10 that Minnesota is the first state to issue such requirements.
Operators who ignore the rules are subject to citations and fines, Rosendahl said.
The requirements are intended to prevent "cross-boring," where underground gas pipelines intersect and puncture privately owned sewer pipes.
On Feb. 1, a roto-rooter contractor punctured a natural gas pipeline that had been inadvertently installed through a sewer service lateral.
The gas escaped into a home and ignited, causing an explosion and fire that destroyed the home.

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