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Settlement reached over 2016 Seattle natural gas explosion

UPDATED: Wed., March 29, 2017

An aerial view of damage from a natural gas explosion that flattened buildings in Seattle March 9, 2016. (Steve Ringman / Seattle Times file)
An aerial view of damage from a natural gas explosion that flattened buildings in Seattle March 9, 2016. (Steve Ringman / Seattle Times file)
Associated Press

SEATTLE – Officials say pipeline safety regulators and Puget Sound Energy have reached a settlement over a complaint regarding a natural gas explosion in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle last year.

The state Utilities and Transportation Commission said Tuesday the settlement would impose a penalty of $2.75 million with $1.25 million suspended if Puget Sound Energy completes an inspection and remediation program.

Officials said the March 9, 2016, explosion that injured nine firefighters and damaged about three dozen businesses was caused by damage to an above-ground service line in an area where a pipeline was left active despite being abandoned in 2004.

The complaint alleged five violations related to improper pipeline deactivation and failure to perform gas leak surveys and corrosion tests. In the settlement, the company did not contest the five violations.

The settlement will be presented to the full commission for consideration.

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