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Pipeline Safety office links improper procedures to explosion

The pipeline explosion in northwestern Minnesota that killed two Superior men was caused in part by improper procedures used during repair work. U.S. Pipeline Safety Public Affairs Officer Damon Hill in Washington, D.C. said this is a preliminary...

The pipeline explosion in northwestern Minnesota that killed two Superior men was caused in part by improper procedures used during repair work.

U.S. Pipeline Safety Public Affairs Officer Damon Hill in Washington, D.C. said this is a preliminary finding and not the complete investigation of the Enbridge Energy Pipeline incident Nov. 28.

"The investigation is still ongoing, but it looks like there were improper procedures conducted. But until the investigation is complete, I can't give an exact determination of cause," he said. Hill said Enbridge has been ordered to make changes since the pipeline explosion near Clearbrook, Minn.

"We've required the company to operate the pipeline at a reduced rate of pressure until we can determine what the cause of failure was," Hill said. "We've worked with the company to make sure that when they're doing anymore work on the pipeline that proper procedures are followed."

Hill said other specifics of the investigation can't be released now. He said it's difficult to say how long the Pipeline Safety Office will take for this inquiry.

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"Sometimes an investigation can be rather quick or take a lot of time, depending on the facts involved," Hill said. "Everything that needs to be looked into, whether it's questioning that needs to be done of various employees or metallurgical examination of pipes, different factors involved cause different time frames."

Enbridge Energy workers Dave Mussati Jr. and Steve Arnovich of Superior were working on a pinhole leak in the 34-inch crude oil pipeline when fumes ignited, causing an explosion which killed both of them.

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