Coal, Gas, O&M

gas blow banned Connecticut

22 September 2010– The governor of Connecticut said she will use an executive order to ban a process known as a “gas blow,” believed to be the cause of an explosion earlier this year at the Kleen Energy power plant that killed six workers and injured 50.

The ban will stand until new national standards are in place, the governor said in a statement.

A report from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board said natural gas was pumped through pipelines in the plant to clean them, but found a nearby ignition source and exploded last February 7.

A gas blow is a procedure in which a large amount of natural gas is forced through pipes to clear debris from them. The Chemical Safety Board said that at the time of the explosion, there was enough natural gas in a confined space to fill a professional basketball stadium and that gas was sparked by nearby equipment.

The CSB recommended to Kleen Energy that if it decides to rebuild it should find alternatives such as steam or nitrogen to perform the blows.

State officials said that at the time of the blast, there was no state agency that oversaw the gas blow process.

The plant owners, Kleen Energy Systems LLC, and two contractors, Bluewater Energy Solutions and O&G Industries, were fined $16.6 million by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Nine lawsuits have been filed by the families of three of the dead workers.

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