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UGI cited for multiple safety violations leading to Allentown gas explosion

By 69 News, follow: @69news, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 11 2012 01:01:59 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 11 2012 05:25:11 PM CDT

PUC files $400K complaint against UGI in Allentown gas explosion

HARRISBURG, Pa. -

The commission charged with investigating the 2011 deadly pipeline explosion in Allentown has cited UGI for multiple safety violations.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission also fined Reading-based UGI $386,000 for violations leading up to and surrounding the Feb. 9, 2011, gas explosion that killed five people and destroyed or damaged dozens of homes.

According to the PUC report, UGI failed to keep up appropriate facilities, including its cast iron mains in Allentown. UGI also failed to properly use safety tests weekly and failed to comply with multiple emergency procedures, according to results of the 16-month investigation.

“What is important is that UGI takes the alleged violations and the requests made in the formal complaint to heart and initiates steps to do everything possible to reduce the risk of another natural gas explosion," said Mayor Ed Pawlowski, D-Allentown. "As I have said all along, UGI needs to accelerate its plans to replace aging cast iron piping. This is not just an issue for Allentown, but one that affects other municipalities across the region."

The source of the gas leak that led to the explosion was officially attributed to a 12" crack in an 84-year-old cast iron main located under Allen Street.

Officials also said UGI was unable to immediately isolate the suspected source of gas do to the lack of valves in its system.

The PUC also ruled that UGI must modify its safety testing procedures and begin replacing its cast iron pipes within the next 10 years.

UGI has 20 days to respond to the report.