Feb. 26, 2014 — A recently detected leak in Olive Hill’s main gas line has utility workers and the City Council scrambling for a quick solution.
The exact whereabouts of the leak was not released to the Journal-Times but City Council member Matt Kiser did confirm that the leak is located on the western end of the town near the city limits.
“It’s a grade 3 leak, so it’s not all that severe right now. If it isn’t taken care of though, it could develop into something more serious,” he said.
Kiser, who works for a West Virginia natural gas company, also added that he wasn’t made aware of the leak until very recently and isn’t sure when the issue began.
According to city officials, the most pressing concern about the leak at this point is the actual loss of gas. It presents grave inefficiency for a utility that’s already operating at a net loss.
Unfortunately for the city, there are no quick fixes for this issue. The job requires bringing in outside contractors specifically trained to work on gas lines.
Finding those individuals, however, is proving to be more difficult than originally anticipated.
“The natural gas industry is growing at such a fast rate that it’s hard to find contractors that aren’t already loaded down with work,” said Kiser.
Even though the leak is in the main line, Kiser says that the fix can be performed without shutting off service to customers in the affected area.
“You can do what’s called a “hot tap” and still be able to work on the line while it’s in service. That way you don’t have purge all the lines and go around re-lighting pilot lights,” said Kiser.
The city has reached out to several firms seeking quotes to perform the line repairs. As of press time, however, no timetable for fixing the leak was in place.
Joe Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 286-4201.