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Prosecutors want faster action to purge leaking pipeline
Central News Agency
2014-08-09 10:37 PM
Kaohsiung, Aug. 9 (CNA) Prosecutors instructed engineers Saturday to use a steel pipe to replace a cut-off segment of the damaged propylene pipeline that is believed to have caused the July 31 explosions in Kaohsiung, in an effort to speed up the removal of flammable gas residues in the line. The pipeline, owned by LCY Chemical Corp., was found to be leaking in a section that crosses a drainage culvert at the intersection of Kaisyuan Road and Ersheng Road in the city's Cianjhen District. Earlier this week, prosecutors ordered that the broken pipe segment be cut off for testing to see if the damage was caused by erosion or by the explosion itself. A plastic pipe was originally used to connect the cut-off but was later found not to be able to properly withstand the pumping pressure. If the weather is good, the plastic pipe can be replaced on Sunday with a steel segment, according to the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office. After the remaining propylene in the pipe is cleared, investigators will excavate the culvert to examine whether the LCY pipeline was laid before or after the construction of the culvert, the office said. Underground pipelines should be packed into the ground, instead of intersecting with culverts, which can expose them to air and moisture and lead to erosion. If the culvert in question is found to have been built after the installation of the LCY pipeline, the Kaohsiung City government may be held responsible for the improper construction work. Also on Saturday, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu said she is planning to travel to Taipei next Friday to meet with Premier Jiang Yi-huah to discuss the lines of responsibility between the central and local government on regulating undergrounds pipelines owned by petrochemical companies in her city. Chen said she will brief Jiang on the current distribution of these petrochemical pipelines and discuss with the premier the future of the petrochemical industry. The mayor urged the Cabinet to help ensure the safety of the petrochemical pipelines that run throughout the city and make a pledge of "no safety, no petrochemical industry." Cabinet spokesman Sun Lih-chyun, meanwhile, said Jiang has instructed the relevant agencies to prepare the necessary data for the discussion with Chen. The late night blasts, believed to have been fueled by a propylene leak, tore apart several kilometers of street in Kaohsiung, killing at least 30 people and leaving over 300 injured. (By Chen Ja-fo, Cheng Che-fon, Tang Pei-chun and Y.F. Low)
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