ND - Gas Leak Forces Golfers Off Course, Release Valve Problem

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

[Fair use for education and research purpose only]

Friday, April 28, 2000

Title: Gas Leak Forces Golfers Off Course

VIRGINIA GRANTIER, Bismarck Tribune Golfers were evacuated from a portion of Bismarck's Pebble Creek Golf Course at about noon Thursday when natural gas began to leak, loudly, from a release valve that was stuck on the open position because of a "piece of dirt," said a Montana Dakota Utilities spokesman.

The golfers were allowed back on the course about 30 minutes later after an MDU serviceman closed the valve, Bismarck Fire Batallion Chief Kurt Leben said.

MDU spokesman Dan Sharp said the valve is located at a MDU border station whose purpose is to adjust gas pressure down to the proper level for residential use in the area.

The release valve that caused the problem is designed to open when necessary "to prevent the gas system from being over-pressurized."

Sharp said the valve may have done that.

"It could have opened to vent some gas," he said.

But then it apparently couldn't close on its own because of dirt that had lodged itself underneath the valve's seat, he said.

"When the gas vents, it makes a lot of noise, a really high-pitched hiss or whine," Sharp said.

But he said there was no danger to the public.

Bismarck firefighters evacuated the golf course near the border station, south of Century Avenue near 19th Street, as a precautionary measure, and police blocked off the area to prevent vehicular traffic.

"We wanted to clear the area to eliminate any ignition sources I (such as) golfers lighting up cigarettes," Leben said.

Sharp said it's not known how much gas was released into the atmosphere in the estimated 15 minutes the valve was open. He said he thinks this is only the second time in the 20-some years he has worked at MDU that this type of incident has occurred.

"It doesn't happen very often," he said.

He says the recent wind storm may have brought in the dirt that caused the problem.

Sharp said it's much more common for leaks to be caused by someone digging and hitting a gas line.



-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), April 28, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ