This photo from the Kleen Energy site is on the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board page about its investigation of the explosion.

CSB Sets Public Meeting on Kleen Energy Case

On June 28 in Portland, Conn., the investigative board will hear preliminary findings about the gas purging explosion that killed six people Feb. 7 in Middletown and will consider urgent recommendation to OSHA and others.

June 28 is the date of an important U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board public meeting to consider investigative staffers' findings about the Kleen Energy blast on Feb. 7 in Middletown, Conn. Six workers died and more than 50 were injured when a "gas blow" -- using flammable natural gas to clean piping at a new power plant under construction -- triggered the explosion. CSB investigators say this practice is commonly used in the gas-fired power generating industry, and thus the board is scheduled to consider "urgent safety recommendations" to OSHA, NFPA, the American Gas Association, the International Code Council, the International Fuel Gas Code Committee, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and others.

CSB recently conducted a survey of the industry and said 39 of the 62 representatives it surveyed reported they had used the procedure. Only one reported having used a flare to burn the gas rather than venting it to the atmosphere, as happened at the Kleen Energy plant that day.

Pre-registration is not required to attend the meeting, but participants are encouraged to pre-register by e-mailing their names and affiliations to kleen@csb.gov by June 25.

CSB already has reported that natural gas used to purge the Kleen Energy piping that morning was at a pressure of approximately 650 pounds psi. Fifteen gas blows were completed through open pipe ends located less than 20 feet off the ground, with about 400,000 standard cubic feet of natural gas released near the building that exploded in the 10 minutes before the explosion happened, according to CSB.

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