Explosion Idles Pacific States Cast Iron Pipe

Feb. 20, 2008
At Utah foundry, burst pipe mixes water with CaC2
McWane Inc.’s Pacific States Cast Iron Pipe operation in Springvale, UT, has been idled indefinitely following an explosion on Sunday, February 17, that injured 11 workers. One worker remains hospitalized, reportedly in critical condition. One other worker was initially hospitalized, then released. Nine workers were treated and released. Pacific States Cast Iron Pipe produces pipe products up to 30-in. in diameter for water and sewer applications. It is one of five operating units of McWane’s Ductile Iron Pipe division. The explosion resulted from leaking water that combined with calcium carbide on the casting floor, and then ignited by a spark or flame, according to a statement by plant manager John Balian. Balian said the water leaked when a frozen water line burst in the shop. Calcium carbide is used as a desulfurizing agent in iron melting. There is no estimate on the scale of the damage, nor the duration of the idling. "We have notified all federal, state and local agencies of the incident and will continue to provide these reporting agencies with updates and answer all questions they might have," Balian stated.