No Action Against Williams For Marshall Pipeline Blast

MOUNDSVILLE – Although the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection declared the April 5 Williams Energy natural gas pipeline rupture an “explosion” resulting in fire that scorched trees over a 2-acre area, the agency found no groundwater contamination.

Therefore, DEP spokesman Kelley J. Gillenwater said the event that forced residents along Middle Grave Creek Road to evacuate amid the blast and fire will not result in a citation against Tulsa, Okla.-based Williams.

“Based on the results of its preliminary investigation, the DEP has found no evidence that the pipeline explosion in Marshall County affected groundwater and therefore is planning no enforcement action at this time,” Gillenwater said.

Gillenwater previously said the DEP’s Office of Oil and Gas, which is the arm of the agency tasked with issuing drilling permits, turned the investigation over to the Environmental Enforcement division.

According to Williams, the ruptured 12-inch pipeline leads to the Oak Grove site, which is one of three Williams points of operation the company has in Marshall County, along with the Fort Beeler site along U.S. 250 and the fractionation site along W.Va. 2.

“The rupture most likely occurred at a weld point in the pipeline, which was buried and along a steep slope,” Gillenwater said, adding there was anywhere from 600-900 pounds per square-inch of pressure on the line at the time.

Williams spokeswoman Helen Humphreys said her company is glad to cooperate with the DEP.

“We appreciate the DEP’s objective evaluation. We continue to investigate alongside them,” she said.