Pipeline Exposion in Illinois

Video of the recent natural gas pipeline explosion in Pawnee, IL. 

Sunday, April 29th, 2007



This was  a 22 inch-single transportation line. The nearest house was a third of a mile away. 

From the article:
Pipeline Explodes ; Pawnee Farmer Worried About Injuries to Livestock
State Journal Register, Arrival Time: 2007-05-01

The pipe, which sat about 3 feet under ground, was exposed after the blast and a 4-foot section of the pipe appeared to be blown out and laid twisted several yards away.
Debbie Mueller, who lives north of the blast site on Delay Road, described the view outside her window as an "inferno" and recalled a continuous hissing noise as the gas fueled the blaze.
"You can't imagine what it looked like unless you saw it, heard it or felt it," she said. "Thank God it wasn't in a neighborhood, can you imagine?"
Sangamon County Sheriff Neil Williamson agreed.
"The closest house is about a third of a mile away, and the siding on the house was burned and melted. It was just unbelievable. I think we really dodged a bullet. As big as this was, it could have been much, much worse with the loss of life," he said.
Lederbrand - who lives on Cotton Hill Road, only a half-mile south of where the blast occurred - recalled how the explosion awoke him from a sound sleep.
"It shook the house, and first, for a split-second, I thought it was an airplane crashing, and it had this loud, real loud, like a freight train going through, just constant (sound)," he recalled. "All I could see was a glowing orange out of the blinds of the windows ... as soon as I looked down there, there were shooting flames, 500 to 600 feet in the air."

In our neighborhood we have two 26 inch pipelines 50 feet from homes, 70 feet from home plate on the Dranesville Elementary athletic field, 150 yards from Dranesville Elementary, and adjacent to the Hiddenbrook playground and pool. Assuming equal pressures, that is 279% more gas in the two 26 inch pipes in Herndon/Sterling/Reston than this one 22 inch pipeline in Illinois.
 Imagine indeed.

From the article:
Pipeline Blast's Cause Still Unknown ; Probe Could Take Weeks; Farmers Say Land Damaged
State Journal Register, Arrival Time: 2007-05-02

Alvies said the fireball damaged about half of the roughly nine acres east of the site and about 4 acres of a similar-sized field to the west. The intense heat disintegrated a woven wire fence and steel posts near the pipeline and melted a portion of nearby roadway that later resolidified.
The land immediately surrounding the blast site is "like volcanic ash," he said. "To try to plant something in that would be like trying to plant on this carpet or concrete," he said Monday.

I believe this is pertinent because it gets to the real issue-safety.   Cutting or trimming trees is a very visible action that Columbia can point to,  but it has no bearing on the major causes of catastrophic failures in older pipelines. Older pipelines are more likely to fail due to corrosion, stress cracks, inferior welding techniques used prior to 1970, and lack of cathodic protection (which was not required on most pipelines installed prior to July 31, 1971).

In the last article it is noted that the agency investigating the damage is the pipeline company itself. 

The pipeline that exploded was built in the 40's. Our pipeline was built in 1954.

Ask your local/state/federal representatives what Columbia is really doing to protect our community.




Congressman Frank Wolf

Pevarski, Brendan"

Herndon Office
13873 Park Center Rd Ste.130
Herndon, VA 20171
(703) 709-5800 or
(800) 945-9653 in state
(703) 709-5802 fax

Senator Janet Howell

Reston, VA 20195
P.O. Box 2608
(703) 709-8283
(703) 435-1995 Fax


Fairfax County, Dranesville Supervisor
Joan DuBois
PH 703-356-0551
FAX 703-821-4275
Fairfax County, Chairman of the Board
Gerry Connolly
PH 703-324-2321
FAX 703-324-3955