Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Transco pipeline explosion/fire, Lycoming County PA

We are hearing from both news reports and also first-hand witnesses of a catastrophic failure of the Williams Transco Pipeline, near the border of Lycoming and Columbia Counties, in Pennsylvania.

Initial reports were this was an explosion of the Exxon-Mobil Levan Compressor Station, which is part of the Mountain Gathering system in Columbia County, PA, which borders Lycoming County. However, the connection to that compressor is now in question. 

Last night, my friend wrote: "I live about 4 miles away and last night chaos erupted in the valley when we could feel the rumble, hear the fire and smell the gas.  Just drove by the site about an hour ago and could smell a metallic odor in the air and nose and throat burned."

Today, news reports confirm this was a failure of Williams Transco Pipeline. The Transco Pipeline is a 10,000+ mile system which runs for Texas to the metropolitan NYC area, suffered another catastrophic failure in 2008 in Appomattox VA.

One local I spoke with who wanted to remain anonymous, was told by PA DEP that "blowdown events would happen for an unknown period of time. They said I would need to call Williams to find out how long the blowdown would last. " My source continues, "We called Williams, and they said that there would be no blowdowns".

This pipeline rupture happened in the wake of a new group of anti-pipeline residents in Benton,
who had their first organizational meeting literally the day before this happened.

The next Columbia County meeting against the proposed Williams Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline is Tuesday June 16th at the Pro Shop Cafe at the Links Golf Course in Buckhorn.

According to news reports, the site is near the intersection of Wilson Road, and Keller Hollow Road, in Jordan Twp. near Unityville, Lycoming County

Approximate GPS: 41.260568, -76.508555

UPDATE: This is the exact spot: 41.263746, -76.494596

My friend took these photos, and identified the location as Boudman Rd, Unityville, PA 17774, Looking east. Notice the burned trees. Still trying to confirmation of the exact location. 

Media contacts looking for a local source can contact, Deirdre Lally at

News Reports:

Update: Evacuation Lifted After Reported Gas Line Rupture
Posted 10:14 pm, June 9, 2015, by

JORDAN TOWNSHIP — Emergency crews evacuated homes for a time near the Lycoming/Columbia County line because of a reported natural gas line rupture.

According to Columbia County EMA officials, there was a gas rupture and leak around 9:30 p.m. on Wilson Road in Jordan Township near Unityville. There was initially a fire, but it was put out.
An initial evacuation radius of three miles was reduced to one and a half miles. About 130 people went to shelters set up at two nearby fire stations.

Just before midnight, the evacuation order was lifted and those residents were allowed to return to their homes.

There are no reports of any injuries.

"It almost sounded like an airplane crash," said Craig Seely of Unityville. "It just started roaring. It sounded kind of like about 500 freight trains running down the track at the same time. Windows started rattling in the house. It shook the house."

"It was very loud, kind of a roar, almost a little bit like an explosion followed by a loud roar," said Benton Borough EMA Coordinator Dan Jankowski. "Actually my thought at the time was that it might have been a gas line that is in that area. There was some conjecture that it was a plane crash. It was that loud."

EMA officials said the gas was quickly shut off by Williams Gas workers who were called to the scene.

Pipeline Leak Under Investigation

Jordan Township, Lycoming County- An uneasy night for residents in two counties after a natural gas pipeline ruptured and leaked creating a sound some compared to hundreds of freight trains.

People are back in their homes this morning after the scare near the Lycoming and Columbia County border resulting in widespread evacuations.
According to E-M-A officials the problem with the gas line owned by Williams Pipeline started around 9:30 Tuesday night near the intersection of Wilson Road and Keller Hollow Road in Jordan Township, near Unityville.

    A fire had to be extinguished -- and a three mile evacuation was being called for.

    About 130 residents were evacuated to fire halls in Benton and Unityville
officials are still investigating what caused the leak.

Williams pipeline explosion in Lycoming Gas line explosion in Lycoming County involves pipeline owned by same company that wants to build in Lancaster County

A natural gas pipeline rupture and explosion forced the evacuation of about 130 people Tuesday night in Lycoming County.
The rupture occurred on a 24-inch natural gas pipeline owned by Williams, the pipeline company that wants to build a 42-inch gas pipeline through 36.5 miles in Lancaster County as part of the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project.
Lance Latham, a spokesman for the Oklahoma-based Williams, said that “emergency shutdown equipment worked properly to quickly stop the flow of gas and isolate the section of line where the failure occurred. As a safety precaution, local emergency response personnel evacuated some nearby residents.”

 There were no reports of injuries.

According to WNEP, a television station in Scranton, about 130 people were taken to two nearby fire stations. The evacuation order was lifted just before midnight.

The cause of the pipe failure has not been determined, Williams said.

“A full investigation will be conducted in coordination with appropriate regulatory agencies to determine the cause of the incident,” Latham said.

 “We will work closely with federal and state authorities to determine the cause of the incident and take necessary steps to ensure the operational integrity of our pipeline system.”

The rupture occurred at 9:40 p.m. in Jordan Township, near Unityville and  Lycoming’s border with Columbia County. There was initially a fire, but it was put out, WNEP reported.

One person described the sound of the explosion “like an airplane crash” that shook his house and rattled windows.

“It was very loud, kind of a roar, almost a little bit like an explosion followed by a loud roar,” Dan Jankowski, Benton Borough emergency management coordinator, told WNEP.

The proposed Atlantic Sunrise project includes 183 miles of new greenfield pipe, including 36.5 miles in Lancaster County.

Its goal is to transport Marcellus Shale gas from the fractured drilling fields in northern Pennsylvania to Eastern Seaboard states and for shipment overseas.

The project is currently being reviewed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is expected to make a decision in about a year.

These sites are behind a paywall:

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be happy and free from suffering :)
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Unknown said...

Thank God there are people like you who are awake and willing to take the time to inform others of what is really going on.

Unknown said...

Try reading the newspaper and/or watching local newscasts.
So much wrong information, especially TV news.
and I love this one:
My friend took these photos, and identified the location as Boudman Rd, Unityville, PA 17774.

Boudman rd is not in zip code 17774. It carries a 17814 zip code, unless Lycoming County is sending my tax bills to the wrong place.

Bill Huston 1 said...

Dave Halterman, I assembled this info based on Google Maps and other sources. It is possible and likely that there are variations of boundaries of township borders, zip codes, street names etc.

I hear that you think my info is incorrect. What would be most helpful is to send me the correct information. What is the exact address (or closest) to the place where the incident occurred? Frankly, I am not 100% sure it was Boudman Rd.

If you could give me correct info, ESPECIALLY GPS coordinates, that would be incredibly helpful. I would update my posting with that if you supplied it. Thanks.