Blast at natural gas plant costs $69M in repairs

A natural gas pipeline ruptured in Plymouth, Wash., Monday. Photo from Sarah Gordon, Courtesy Tri City Herald.

PLYMOUTH, Wash. (AP) — Williams Northwest Pipeline is spending $69 million to repair damage from an explosion that injured five people at a natural gas facility last March in eastern Washington.

A pressure vessel ruptured, throwing a piece of shrapnel into a liquid natural-gas storage tank at the processing plant in Plymouth, just across the Columbia River from Umatilla, Oregon. Federal safety investigators are looking into the cause of the accident.

A spokeswoman for the Salt Lake City-based company, Michele Swaner, tells the East Oregonian that full operations resumed in November and repairs should be completed by April.

Two storage tanks hold up to 14 million gallons of liquid natural gas to meet peak winter demands on the pipeline that carries gas through Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado.