Torrential rains in Kaohsiung delay replacement of leaking pipeline
Central News Agency
2014-08-10 02:03 PM
Kaohsiung, Aug. 10 (CNA) Torrential rains, which began early Sunday, have delayed Kaohsiung City Government's plan to remove the remaining flammable gas inside a damaged propylene pipeline that is believed to have caused the July 31 explosions in the city. According to the Central Weather Bureau, rainfall in Kaohsiung's Ciaotou District reached 246 millimeters between 12 a.m. and 12 p.m. Sunday, followed by over 220 millimeters in both Jenwu and Dashe Districts. The heavy rain has flooded the intersection of Kaisyuan Road and Ersheng Road in the city's Cianjhen District, where the pipeline, owned by LCY Chemical Corp., was found to have been leaking in a section that crosses a drainage culvert prior to the explosions that killed 30 and injured over 300. Last week, prosecutors ordered that the broken pipe segment be removed for testing to see if the damage was caused by erosion or by the explosion. A plastic pipe was later used to reconnect the gas line, but was unable to properly withstand the pumping pressure. The plastic pipe was originally set to be replaced Sunday with a steel segment, but the work was delayed by the flood. Kaohsiung's environmental protection agency said the replacement work could not begin until the water level at the scene drops by at least one meter. 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, according to the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office. Underground pipelines should be packed into the ground, instead of intersecting with culverts, which can expose pipelines to air and moisture, leading to corrosion. 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 improper construction work. (By Jeffrey Wu)
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