Quick Start Guide Natural Gas Utilities


Incidents In 1988, a series of five service line incidents killed four people and injured 16 others. While those incidents, as well as the ones that follow, involved jurisdictional service lines, the conditions described could also occur on customer-owned fuel lines. It was for this reason that 49 CFR §192.16 was created. • Natural gas leaking from a customer-owned portion of a steel service line migrated through the soil into a residential dwelling. Natural gas accumulated, ignited, and resulted in an explosion and fire that killed a woman and seriously burned her son and daughter-in-law. The leak source was a failed threaded joint, caused by a combination of corrosion and excessive downward force. • Natural gas leaking from a service line migrated into a retail store, where it accumulated and ignited. The result was an explosion that killed eight people, severely burned another person, and totally destroyed the store. The cause of the natural gas leak was determined to be a separation between a plastic service line and a plastic coupling, which had been installed without authorization by an excavation contractor. Six months before the incident, an employee of the contractor had severed the natural gas line while operating a backhoe without notifying the utility or reporting the damage. These tragic incidents may have been prevented if the involved property owners had conducted regular inspections and maintenance of their buried fuel lines. Safety education programs and messages can educate the public about such hazards.

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