Over Pressurized Regulators Gas Blast Cause

Tuesday, October 18, 2011 @ 04:10 PM gHale

Over pressurized regulators led to a malfunction causing a massive gas explosion that rocked Fairport Harbor, OH, in January, officials said.

At least 15 fires damaging dozens of homes were the result of the regulator malfunction.

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“There’s a problem that resulted in too much pressure going into the system, where usually we would have the gas pressure going into the appliance at ounces per square inch, this was sort of pounds per square inch,” said Dominion Ohio East Ohio Spokesman Neil Durbin.

In a report filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Dominion East Ohio said the presence of pipeline fluids and gas temperature drop across the regulators caused the regulators to malfunction.

A regulator is a device designed to reduce natural gas pressure before the gas goes to customers.

“We have taken steps to prevent such an instance from occurring elsewhere in our system,” Durbin said.

Nearly 500 stations were examined in order to prevent a potential recurrence, Dominion officials said. Dominion will retire or redesign seven of the units.

Monitoring equipment also went on 287 additional low-pressure regulating stations, which currently do not have the ability to report unusual pressure situations automatically.

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