An explosion leveled a home in Firestone, Colo., last month killing two men who were working on a water heater in the basement and injuring two other people inside the house.
Fire investigators determined that a supposedly abandoned pipeline leaked volatile gas just 6 feet from a corner of the house.
In the wake of the April 17 explosion. Gov. John Hickenlooper has ordered a review of all statewide oil and gas operations.
An investigation into the house explosion revealed that an uncapped flow line from a nearby well allowed gas to seep into the soil and basement of the house. The house, built in 2015, was located less than 200 feet from a well.
According to state data, there are some 54,000 active oil and gas wells in the state. Another 36,000 are inactive or abandoned.
A review by The Denver Post shows regulators for decades relied only on self-reporting by companies or complaints to identify failed pipelines even though pipelines are the leading cause of oil and gas leaks to the environment. It wasn’t until last year that the state began any program to monitor the underground pipes connecting wells to tanks and other equipment in the field.
The National Transportation Safety Board has gotten involved in the investigation of the Colorado explosion, due to its potential national implications. Pipelines are considered a mode of transportation for materials like oil and gas.
More details here.
Source: The Denver Post