Possible cause of Strasburg gas line explosion found

The findings are a part of a Corrective Action Order issued by the PHMSA.
Published: Aug. 1, 2023 at 12:47 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 1, 2023 at 6:28 PM EDT
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STRASBURG, Va. (WHSV) - A possible cause for the gas line explosion in Strasburg on July 25 has been reported, and more information has been released about the incident.

The Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office posted on the morning of the 25th that there was a gas line explosion near Battlefield Road and Copp Road. Later that morning, the Sheriff’s Office said the fire was contained. In a statement, TC Energy said at 8:41 a.m. they detected a pressure drop in their Columbia Gas Transmission Pipeline and began emergency protocols.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a Corrective Action Order to TC Energy on July 28, and released their preliminary findings in the investigation.

The PHMSA said at around 8:41 a.m. on July 25, the Columbia Gas Transmission (CGT) line ruptured, which caused several pieces of pipeline to discharge and land nearby. About a minute later, control room personnel with CGT saw a sudden drop in pressure, and at 8:45 a.m. they saw the smoke and fire, according to PHMSA.

Natural gas was released into the atmosphere, but no injuries or fatalities have been reported, the PHMSA says.

In the Corrective Action Order, the PHMSA says the following:

“The cause of the failure is currently unknown, but based on initial observations of the failed pipe, environmental cracking is the suspected cause of the Incident.”

TC Energy said in a statement on July 28 that they removed a section of the pipe that was affected and that it will be sent to a third-part lab for analysis. Then on July 31 they announced that they were working to return nearby parts of the pipeline not impacted back to service.

The explosion is still under investigation, and TC Energy said they are working on plans to repair the pipeline and return to normal operations.

You can read all of the preliminary findings and the Corrective Action Order here.

The Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office said a gas line exploded near Strasburg on July 25.