Energy company: Weight-stressed pipeline caused gas line rupture

The Detroit News

On Monday, Consumers Energy released a statement detailing the cause of a November gas line rupture that caused a huge explosion in Orion Township.

Blackened trees near the gas line explosion in Orion Township on November 20, 2017.

No one was injured in the blaze on the north side of Brown Road, west of Joslyn Road, at the border of Orion Township and Auburn Hills.

“After a thorough investigation, Consumers Energy officials determined approximately 21 feet of fill material was added over top of the pipeline by a third party," the statement said. "The weight of the fill stressed the pipeline and caused it to sag...which caused a break and rupture in the pipeline on November 20, 2017 in Orion Township, Michigan."

As for what it will do to make sure there isn't another pipeline break, Consumers said it is enhancing its inspection patrols, reviewing construction standards and "implementing comprehensive remediation plans that meet or exceed state and federal requirements."

The pipeline that ruptured was 66 years old, and the blast that resulted left a crater nearly 20 feet deep and knocked out Oakland County 911 service for several hours. 

The blaze took place about 11 p.m. that night, on the north side of Brown Road, west of Joslyn Road. Gas service was never impacted.