Last Thursday, AGA, along with representatives from the media was provided with an opportunity to view the section of gas transmission pipeline that exploded in San Bruno, California, on September 9.
The 27 foot section of pipe was excavated by National Transportation Safety Administration (NTSB) inspectors and transported by truck to a NTSB research facility in Ashburn, Virginia.
The pictures shown here provide a unique opportunity to view and examine the effects on the pipe itself of this tragic explosion which claimed eight lives and destroyed 37 homes.
Analyzing the cause of any pipeline accident requires material, metallurgical and other expertise, and time. And we, like you, are earnestly awaiting the findings of the NTSB investigation. While it may be tempting to jump to conclusions based on these photographs, it is both prudent and professionally responsible for all involved to wait for the NTSB to release its findings.
What can cause a pipeline to fail? Historically, excavation damage is the leading cause of most serious pipeline failures. Accident information is grouped into eight cause categories: excavation damage, corrosion, natural forces, other outside force damage, material or welds, equipment, incorrect operation and other.
Accident cause information is available at the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) website.