Heavy machinery is the likely culprit behind a Sept. 21 rupture in a 26-inch natural gas pipeline near the Trapp Community, Tennessee Gas Pipeline officials said today.
Tennessee Gas Pipeline investigators said a third-party contractor operating a track hoe had been operating around the rupture site at Howard’s Creek.
Richard Wheatley, manager of media relations for El Paso Corp., Tennessee Gas Pipeline’s parent company, said Wednesday investigators collected pieces of pipeline ejected when the line ruptured and studied pipeline remnants. A gouge in the line initiated the rupture, which contributed to a rapid depressurization of the line and a release of natural gas into the atmosphere, he said.
Wheatley said investigators have interviewed land owners and residents in the Trapp community. Witness reports and the evidence collected suggest that the gouge was made in the last several weeks, he said.