In light of the recent natural gas explosion in New Jersey which leveled a home and damaged several others, Dalton Utilities would like to reassure its customers that we are taking steps to ensure the safety of our natural gas distribution lines and the public.
We make a concerted effort to inform our customers and other members of the public who might work or live in proximity to natural gas lines what to do in the event of a suspected natural gas leak. One of the reasons we do this is to educate the public about what might indicate a natural gas issue.
In addition to public information campaigns, our crews work year round to ensure the safety of the entire natural gas system. Our system is audited by the Georgia Public Service Commission’s Office of Pipeline Safety, in addition to our liability insurance provider. Dalton Utilities performs a leak survey of one-fifth of our system each year, thereby ensuring that the entire system is surveyed every five years.
Our gas crews work with our customer service department to determine if a business or residence appears to have been abandoned. If it is determined that the facility is abandoned or vacant, the gas meters are turned off and locked at that location.
Natural gas regulator stations and odorant stations (where the smell is added to odorless natural gas to make it detectable) are also inspected on an annual basis. .Additionally, Dalton Utilities has installed protection throughout our natural gas system to prevent lines from being over pressurized. These over pressure devices are inspected annually.
All of Dalton Utilities’ steel gas mains are protected from corrosion using a cathodic protection system. Cathodic protection uses a low-voltage (DC) electric charge on the pipe which prevents corrosion. This system is also inspected annually.
Dalton Utilities staff members meet annually with area emergency responders, public officials and area excavators to ensure they are aware of the safest response procedures should a natural gas leak occur. In 2014, Dalton Utilities personnel performed training sessions with area emergency responders. One of the topics covered was, “How to Respond Safely to Both Indoor and Outdoor Leaks.”
“As you can see, Dalton Utilities places a high priority on natural gas safety, but customers and members of the public also play an important role,” said Utility spokesman Lori McDaniel. “One of the issues with the gas leak in New Jersey is that neighbors who smelled the “rotten egg” smell associated with natural gas did not report it to the gas company. Any time you smell natural gas and suspect that a leak may have occurred, please call Dalton Utilities immediately at 706-278-1313. Even if you are mistaken, it is much safer to investigate any suspected leak and be safe.”
For more information on natural gas safety, visit Dalton Utilities’ website at www.dutil.com.