Investigators Attribute West Virginia Pipeline Blast To Corrosion

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Federal investigators say corrosion caused a 2012 pipeline rupture and explosion in West Virginia that destroyed several homes and cooked a stretch of Interstate 77.

A report released Monday by the National Transportation Safety Board says investigators found severe external corrosion that reduced the thickness of the pipeline wall to about 30 percent of its original thickness. The pipeline was installed in 1967 and last inspected in 1988.

According to the report, the rupture likely would have been prevented if the pipeline had been inspected with an inline tool.

No one was seriously injured when the buried 20-inch line owned and operated by Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. ruptured on Dec. 11, 2012, near I-77 in Sissonville.

A spokeswoman for Columbia's parent, NiSource says the company is committed to operating safely.