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Michigan pipeline blaze caused by weight of fill material

Published by , Senior Editor
World Pipelines,

Consumers Energy released a statement yesterday detailing the cause of a gas pipeline rupture in Michigan in November 2017. The pipeline rupture caused a huge explosion in Orion Township.

“After a thorough investigation, Consumers Energy officials determined approximately 21 ft of fill material was added over top of the pipeline by a third party," the statement said. "The weight of the fill stressed the pipeline and caused it to sag...which caused a break and rupture in the pipeline on 20 November, 2017 in Orion Township, Michigan."

Consumers Energy said it is enhancing its inspection patrols, reviewing construction standards and "implementing comprehensive remediation plans that meet or exceed state and federal requirements."

The pipeline that ruptured was 66 years old, and the blast that resulted left a crater nearly 20 ft deep and knocked out Oakland County 911 service for several hours. 

No one was injured in the blaze.

"The weight of the fill stressed the pipeline and caused it to sag due to the compressibility of the supporting organic soil layer (a swampy area) which caused a break and rupture in the pipeline," according to the statement.

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