Town Talk: Natural gas excess flow valve regulation change

Town Talk

Editor’s Note: The City of New Ulm presents a weekly column highlighting activities in different departments in the city government. Once a month the city will answer questions from readers. Questions on New Ulm city issues can be sent to comments@ci.new-ulm.mn.us.

In accordance with recent federal pipeline safety regulations Title 49 CFR 192.383, the New Ulm Public Utilities is required to notify all natural gas customers of the new excess flow valve (EFV) requirements. Effective April 14, 2017 EFV installation requirements were expanded to include new or replaced service lines to single family residences, multifamily residences and small commercial customers with natural gas volumes not exceeding 1,000 standard cubic feet per hour (SCFH) and operate at a pressure above 10 pounds per square inch gauge (PSIG). Existing customers also have the right to request the installation of an EFV on their service line if it meets the specified conditions of the rule.

All gas services in New Ulm currently comply with this new regulation. The only service lines that meet the requirement for an EFV are on the west side of the Cottonwood River bridge on Cottonwood Street and the Dakota Ridge area. These homes already have EFV’s installed and will not require any modification.

An excess flow valve (EFV) is a safety device designed to automatically limit the flow of natural gas when the flow of gas through the device exceeds a predetermined level. If the service line is broken or severed, the EFV activates to limit or stop the flow of gas. This is usually the result of excavation damage. Although the EFV may help limit the effects of such an incident, the best way to protect against excavation damage is to have underground service lines marked by calling 811 prior to any digging or excavating.

It is important to note that EFV’s generally do not protect against slow leaks such as those caused by corrosion, small punctures, loose fittings, or leaks beyond the gas meter or inside the home.

There are several other ways we protect the pipeline and the public from dangerous situations. The steel pipe in the gas distribution system is protected from corrosion by cathodic protection. Each year voltage readings are taken at various locations on the gas distribution system to limit the chances of leaks caused by corrosion. Periodically we do leak surveys with machines that detect natural gas. We check our entire distribution system including all outside meters and regulators. Our goal is to find small leaks before they can become a problem.

Remember if you smell gas get to a safe location and call our 24-hour emergency number 877-868-3636. We will send a service technician as soon as possible to assist you.

Keeping your family and loved ones safe is our priority.

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