Gas pipeline pressure before explosions was 12 times higher than normal

The investigation continues into the deadly natural gas line explosion near Boston and the U.S. senators who represent Massachusetts have sent a letter to the executives of the utility company in charge of that area saying the pressure in the lines was 12 times higher than it should have been, The Associated Press reported.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey sent a letter to Columbia Gas and its parent company NiSource.

The letter says:

"The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has reported that the pressure in the Columbia Gas system should have been around 0.5 pounds per square inch (PSI), but readings in the area reached at least 6 PSI — twelve times higher than the system was intended to hold."

Click here to read the correspondence which requests a response from Stephen Bryant, president and chief operating officer of Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, and Joseph Hamrock, president and chief executive officer of NiSource, by close of business Wednesday.

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The letter states that a spike registered in a control room in Columbus, Ohio, on Sept. 13, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The letter then asks both Hamrock and Bryant, what time was the pressure spike registered, when did employees notice the spike and should it have triggered any alarms, among other questions.

It also requests that Columbia Gas provide its emergency response plan for the area that was affected and how it was followed during the Sept. 13 incident.

One person was killed and more than two dozen were hurt in the explosions in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, the AP reported.

Approximately 8,600 customers were affected and have been forced from their homes. Some many have to go without gas service for weeks, the AP reported.

The NTSB is investigating pressure sensors connected to a gas line that was in the process of being taken out of service just before the explosions, the AP reported.

Credit: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Credit: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

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