Nevada Public Utilities Commission issues warning about damaged natural gas lines
Because of a growing number of incidents involving damage to natural gas lines, the Public Utilities Commission on Friday warned anyone causing damage to gas lines not to try making repairs themselves.
Senior PUC Engineer Neil Pascual warned attempting to stop the flow of gas or make repairs can be extremely dangerous.
“Immediately cease work, evacuate the impacted area to minimize the hazard presented by the damaged pipeline,” he said. “Telephone emergency 911 services from a safe area and contact the utility operator.”
He said non-utility personnel should never try to operate any valve or other device owned by a gas utility.
Pascual said they shouldn’t even touch the damaged plastic pipeline because it could cause a spark that ignites the escaping gas, causing a fireball.
He said there have been several incidents in which an excavator damaged gas lines this spring involving attempts to stop the gas flow and make repairs. Doing so can subject those involved to civil penalties up to $2,500 a day per violation up to a maximum $250,000. In addition, violators could be hit with the cost of repairs.
The PUC has issued more than 50 civil penalties to excavators and operators in the past three years totaling more than $300,000.
Pascual said to avoid problems and the chance of causing damage to utilities, call 811 before digging and professional locators will come to the dig site usually within two working days and mark underground utility lines.