Monday, September 25, 2023

PUC Investigating Delaware County Natural Gas Pipeline Leak, House Explosion And Evacuation Of 100+ People

On September 25, the
Public Utility Commission announced pipeline and electric safety engineers from the Safety Division of the PUC are continuing their investigation into a weekend incident in Yeadon, Delaware County involving reports of a natural gas pipeline leak, a house explosion and fire that damaged several homes and resulted in the evacuation of more than 100 nearby residents.

On September 23, 2023, I&E safety engineers responded to the scene of a reported gas leak and house explosion at 14 W. Providence Rd. in Yeadon, Delaware County – which damaged a duplex house and resulted in the evacuation of homes and apartments around the incident site.

Safety division engineers have been on-site since Saturday, gathering information about the incident; observing work by PECO crews to locate and repair gas leaks in the area; and monitoring the safe restoration of electric and natural gas utility service to the neighborhood around the incident.

Initial reports indicate that an electrical line was brought down by a tree, as high winds and heavy rain from coastal storm Ophelia swept across southeastern Pennsylvania – and that may have caused a gas leak that resulted in the explosion and fire – but safety engineers continue to gather information about the incident.

The Safety Division investigation in Delaware County is active and ongoing – involving both pipeline safety and electric safety teams from the Safety Division – who are gathering and analyzing evidence and data to explore whether public utility infrastructure or operations contributed to the cause and circumstances surrounding an incident, along with whether there are any violations of state or federal pipeline and/or electric safety regulations.

It is important to note that I&E investigations are limited – by regulation – to the involvement of, or impact from, utilities and utility systems under the jurisdiction of the PUC. 

I&E does not have jurisdiction to investigate items or events beyond a service meter – and the interior, non-jurisdictional, assets involved in incidents are the subject of investigation by other parties and agencies outside the PUC.

The Safety Division recognizes the strong public interest in these types of incidents, especially for those who have been directly impacted, and works to address safety concerns in a timely manner. 

Still, it is important to understand that these are complex circumstances which may require extensive analyses by engineers and other experts, along with laboratory testing and other technical study before conclusions can be reached.

Any determinations and/or actions are based on that information, within the scope of the PUC’s jurisdiction, and any safety concerns identified by investigators are addressed promptly with regulated pipeline operators and/or utilities. 

NewsClips - Natural Gas Explosions:

-- 6ABC News: 100 Residents In Delaware County Evacuated After Natural Gas From A Ruptured Gas Line Leaked, Caused 2 Houses To Explode

-- DelcoTimes: About 200 Yeardon Residents Housed At School In Wake Of Natural Gas Leak

-- PennLive: Lancaster County House Explosion Leaves 1 Man Dead: Police

-- MCall: Natural Gas Leak In Lehigh Valley Prompts Brief Shelter-In-Place Order Wednesday

-- PUC Responds To NTSB Actions Regarding Reading Factory Natural Gas Explosion

-- Post-Gazette - Ford Turner: NTSB Kicks PUC Out Of Investigation Into Deadly Natural Gas Explosion At A Chocolate Factory In Reading

-- Reading Eagle: West Reading Chocolate Factory Explosion: Feds Demand PUC Hand Over UGI Inspection Reports

-- AP: NTSB Investigators Subpoena PUC Records Related To Reading Factory Natural Gas Explosion

PA Oil & Gas Industry Public Notice Dashboards:

-- Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard - Sept. 23 to 29; More Abandoned Wells; Oil & Gas Doesn’t Typically Issue NOVs For ‘Routine’ Venting Of Natural Gas, Will Air Quality Under New Regs?  [PaEN] 

-- PA Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities: Permit Notices/Opportunities To Comment - September 30   [PaEN] 

-- DEP Invites Comments On Title V Air Quality Permit For Eastern Gas Transmission Compressor Station In Westmoreland County At Oct. 31 Hearing  [PaEN]

-- DEP Posted 54 Pages Of Permit-Related Notices In September 30 PA Bulletin  [PaEN] 

NewsClips This Week:

-- PennLive Guest Essay: Gov. Shapiro, The Fracking Clock Is Ticking - By Megan McDonough, Food & Water Watch

-- AP: Gov. Shapiro Noncommittal On Greenhouse Gas Strategy As Climate Task Force Finishes Work

-- The Allegheny Front: EPA’s Approval Of 2nd Plum Boro Oil/Gas Wastewater Injection Well In  Allegheny County Raises Fears That More Are On The Way

-- Grist - Will Peischel: Inside The Rough-And-Tumble Race To Clean Up America’s Abandoned Oil & Gas Wells [PA Highlighted]

-- Planet Philadelphia Radio: Cleaning Up Our Energy Systems, Oct. 5 At 4:00 p.m.

-- Observer-Reporter: Pipeline Operator Faces $100,000 PUC Penalty For 2020 House Explosion In Greene County

-- WTAE: Natural Gas Pipeline Leak In Collier Twp., Allegheny County Forces People Out Of Their Homes

-- PUC Commissioner Kathryn Zerfuss Appointed To Presidential Task Force On Evolving Natural Gas Infrastructure Planning

-- Utility Dive: PJM Board Calls For Capacity Market Changes To Bolster Grid Reliability, Resource Adequacy

-- Guest Essay: EPA Further Threatens Grid Reliability By Reducing Carbon Pollution From Power Plants, Including Natural Gas-Fired Power Plants - By Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), Majority Chair of the PA Senate Environmental Committee

-- Pittsburgh Business Times: Marcellus Shale Gas Industry Coalition Highlights Natural Gas Industry’s Economic Impact In PA; Faces Bills Extending Safety Zones

-- Marcellus Shale Gas Industry Coalition: Natural Gas Generates $41 Billion In Economic Activity, Supports 123,000 Jobs, Produced $6.3 Billion In Landowner Royalties 

-- Erie Times Guest Essay: Marcellus Shale Gas Coalition Wraps Up Conference In Erie - Natural Gas Delivers For All Pennsylvanians

-- JDSupra: Federal Court In Ohio Makes Important Ruling On Post-Production Costs For Oil & Gas Leaseholders Under ‘Market Enhancement’ Clause

Related Articles This Week:

-- Environmental Health Project: How DEP Issues Permits For Shale Gas Facilities Without Considering Cumulative Impacts - How New Facilities Will Add To Existing Pollution Loads And Impact The Area  [PaEN]

-- Member Of Pine Creek Headwaters Protection Group Briefs DCNR Advisory Council On Siting Of Shale Gas Well Pad On State Forest Land To Accommodate Taking Gas From Private Land In Tioga County  [PaEN]

-- Gov. Shapiro’s Work Group Concludes A Cap-And-Invest Carbon Pollution Regulation Program Would Be Optimal Approach To Reducing Greenhouse Emissions From Power Plants; Scale Up Solar Energy  [PaEN]

-- On Sept. 27 Families Will Hold Town Hall Meeting In Washington County Seeking Policy Changes After Pitt Studies Link Natural Gas Development And Negative Health Outcomes  [PaEN]

-- Guest Essay: DEP Should Invest $33.6 Million In New Federal Funding Wisely To Plug  Conventional Oil & Gas Wells And Not Reward The Industry For Bad Behavior  - By  Russell Zerbo, Clean Air Council  [PaEN] 

-- DEP Updates Times Of 2 Hearings On Interim Final Environmental Justice Policy To Accept Comments In Erie, Philadelphia  [PaEN] 

-- PJM Interconnection Board Proposes Market Reforms Based Largely On Unreliability Of Natural Gas-Fired Power Plants During Winter Storm Elliot  [PaEN] 

-- PJM Interconnection Files Proposed Winter Storm Elliot Settlement With Non-Performing Electric Generators With FERC, Requests Final Action By Dec. 29  [PaEN]

[Posted: September 25, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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