After a month following the pipeline explosion in Washington Parish, a required incident report from the pipeline owner Florida Gas Transmission has uncovered the possible cause. The report was submitted to the pipeline to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) indicated the cause of the explosion as corrosion failure. The community of Enon, Louisiana says the corrosion is a concern, but not a surprise.
Another issue at hand is the Cathodic Protection survey, one that is required for control and maintenance of underground pipelines. The company says in the report that the ruptured area had not been surveyed since 2009, however the company claims that was an error that is being corrected, and was actually surveyed four months prior to the explosion.
Florida Gas Transmissions has a history of incidents in which corrosion is the suspected cause, with incidents dating back as near as last year. PHMSA records show that the company has had 4 out of the 17 incidents since 2006 where corrosion was suspected or determined.
Florida Gas Transmission released a statement: “Our investigation into the cause of the incident is ongoing and is in full cooperation with PHMSA. We have submitted a preliminary incident report to PHMSA, which we are required to do within 30 days of the incident. We have replaced approximately 120 feet of pipe at the point of the incident and with the approval of PHMSA have returned the pipeline to service at a reduced operating pressure…. 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.”
The investigating agency says the official failure report can take as long as 20 months to be completed.