Texas-based Spectra Energy on Tuesday announced that faster-than-expected corrosion caused the natural gas pipeline explosion in Salem Township, Pennsylvania last April that burned 40 acres of land and severely injured a man.
The company held a meeting for board supervisors, regulators, and residents in Salem Township and shared the findings of the pipeline blast, reported by Andy Drake, the vice president of operations and environmental health and safety with Spectra Energy.
In a 2012 inspection of the pipeline, officials found corrosion on the pipeline that they said did not warrant another inspection until 2019 because it was anticipated that the corrosion would grow 2 to 3 percent annually. Instead, the corrosion grew an alarming 10 to 15 percent each year, according to Drake.
Drake noted at the meeting that unique factors at the Salem Township site may have contributed to the blast: the gas pumped there is warmer than most because of its proximity to the transmission station; the ground in the area may also have caused a wet-dry cycling known to accelerate pipe rust.
Spectra is currently digging up other areas along the 265-mile natural gas pipeline and repairing problems that are found. The company estimates that the digging and repairs will cost them $75 million to $100 million.