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Town Talk: Natural gas leak survey starting soon

The New Ulm Public Utilities Gas Department will be starting our annual leak survey soon. This leak survey is required by the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 192.723.

The business section of New Ulm is surveyed at least once a year and the residential areas are surveyed not less than every three years as required by the regulation. The survey is conducted by Gas Department employees that have passed an Operator Qualification Training test that is required to perform this survey. It includes training in the different leak detection equipment and observing changes in vegetation and soil.

Leaks on the pipeline can be caused in many ways. The steel pipe in our pipeline has a protective coating surrounding the pipe to prevent rust from forming. If this coating is damaged and not reported, it can cause the pipe to rust and cause a leak. It is very important that if you are digging near a natural gas pipe and damage it, that you call us so we can inspect it and make any necessary repairs.

We use several different types of detection instruments to find natural gas leaks. Some instruments are mounted on vehicles and then driven over our gas mains in alleys and boulevards. When the instrument indicates the presence of natural gas, that location is inspected to see where the gas is coming from. To check the service lines going to homes and businesses the technician carries a detection instrument and walks the route of the service line checking along the way for any possible leaks. Once the technician reaches the end of the service, the meter set is then checked for leaks and signs of corrosion. If a leak is found, it is repaired as soon as possible. We may need to enter the building to turn off and relight the appliances. If no one is at the building, a card is left asking the occupant to call and schedule an appointment to make repairs. Only small nuisance leaks that will not get bigger over time would not be repaired immediately. Your safety is our primary concern.

Thank you and have a safe summer.

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.

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