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Lawsuit to target US gas utility after explosions

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World Pipelines,

A resident of a Massachusetts city rocked by last week’s gas blasts, that damaged dozens of homes and killed one, sued utility operator NiSource Inc. yesterday, accusing it of inadequately maintaining its distribution system, reports Reuters.

The proposed class action lawsuit targets NiSource and its subsidiary Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, which services Andover, North Andover and Lawrence, three communities northwest of Boston that staged large-scale evacuations following the Thursday afternoon blasts that killed one person and injured at least 25, reports Reuters.

The lawsuit said the company failed to implement reasonable safety and leak prevention practices and failed to replace obsolete high-risk materials in the system, which used pipelines constructed of cast and wrought iron rather than plastic.

The blasts on Thursday destroyed as many as 80 houses in the largest natural gas pipeline accident in the US since 2010.

NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt on Sunday said over-pressurisation of the gas distribution system was to blame and that the agency was looking at pressure sensors attached to a line that was taken out of service before the explosions.

In a letter to NiSource on Monday, US Senators Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren, both Democrats of Massachusetts, said the pressure in the pipeline system had been 12 times greater than it was intended to hold.

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