NatGas Leak Caused Williams Compressor Station Explosion

A natural gas leak was the cause of an explosion last week in a Susquehanna County, PA natural gas compressor station (see this MDN story). Fortunately, an alarm triggered an automatic shutdown of the station just minutes before the explosion.

A small gas leak in a Susquehanna County natural gas compressor station triggered an evacuation alarm and automatic shut-down procedures minutes before a spark set the gas on fire, according to preliminary information gathered by state regulators.

The explosion at Williams Partners’ Lathrop compressor station in Springville Township on Thursday shut down the seven-engine station, which will remain out of service until Williams and state Department of Environmental Protection inspectors complete an investigation and determine that it is safe to resume operations, DEP officials said in a Friday morning press conference at the Wilkes-Barre regional office.

The blast caused extensive damage to the building enclosing the compressor engines but it did not harm the company’s pipelines or nearby homes that were rattled by the explosion. No one was injured and state inspectors monitoring air quality around the site found no threats to the environment or public health.*

*Wilkes-Barre (PA) The Citizens’ Voice (Mar 31, 2012) – Small gas leak at heart of compression station explosion