Connecticut legislation to clean piping called first of its kind in the nation
H.B. 5802 prohibits anyone from using flammable gas to clean or blow an electric generating facility's gas piping. It codifies an executive order issued by the state's former governor.
The accident occurred in February 2010 when workers were conducting a gas blow -- a planned effort to clean out new fuel gas piping leading to combustion turbines by directing high pressure natural gas through the pipes and out of vents located near ground level, adjacent to the power generation building. The accumulated gas ignited, triggering the massive explosion.
In its report on the incident, the CSB concluded that "using gas blows to clean piping is inherently unsafe and should no longer be permitted in the construction of power plants," said Chairman and CEO Dr. Rafael Moure-Eraso in testimony before the Connecticut General Assembly. The CSB is an independent, nonregulatory federal agency that investigates major industrial accidents involving hazardous substances.
The CSB report recommended that the state enact legislation applicable to power plants "that prohibits the use of flammable gas that is released to the atmosphere to clean fuel gas piping."
Safer alternative pipe cleaning methodologies are available, Moure-Eraso said, "and quite feasible to accomplish the same cleaning function, including blowing with air or nitrogen, which cannot explode, or forcing a cleaning object or so-called 'pig' through the fuel-gas piping under air pressure."
Connecticut Gov. Malloy recently signed the legislation into law.
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October 3, 2011
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