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Failed pipeline in Sissonville decades old, corrective order issued

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A new document from a federal pipeline safety agency shows a 20-inch Columbia gas line that exploded in Sissonville was many decades old.

The National Transportation Safety Board had already revealed in a news conference that the pipeline failure was in part due to corrosion of the pipeline. Gas continued to flow from the pipeline after the explosion and had to be manually shut off about an hour after it exploded.

The line, according to an order issued by the PHMSA, was originally installed in 1951. It was extended further in 1955. Various segments of the pipeline had been replaced, with the newest piece being installed in 1992.

The piece that actually exploded was made in 1967. Previous reports indicated the piece that was part of the explosion was much newer.

The finding determined a corrective action order was necessary in the case of the explosion. Jeffrey D. Wiese, associate administrator for pipeline safety at PHMSA, wrote that given conditions of the pipeline, a corrective order was necessary due to life, property and environmental threats.

The plan requires Columbia to create a plan returning to restricted operation. It will also require ongoing special attention directed toward the pipeline to encourage future safety.

Investigation into the cause of the pipeline incident is ongoing.