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  • Gas service run through sewer line

    Residents return to Highland Park homes after St. Paul gas-line fire

    By Mara H. Gottfried
    mgottfried@pioneerpress.com
    Updated: 02/01/2010 04:25:12 PM CST

    Browse more photo galleries » Watch local video » Watch national video »



    Officials let residents return to their homes in St. Paul's Highland Park neighborhood after putting out a fire started when a sewer worker struck a gas line this morning.
    Firefighters had evacuated 15 homes in the neighborhood and those residents were allowed to wait in an empty city bus.
    The gas has been turned off. After officials checked the houses to make sure they are free of gas, residents were allowed back in their homes.
    Xcel Energy is monitoring the sewer lines and firefighters are spraying water on the house to make sure the fire is completely out.
    The worker was burned on the face and taken to Regions Hospital, said St. Paul Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard. His injuries did not appear life-threatening, he said.
    Around 10 a.m., the sewer worker struck a gas line that started a fire in a single-family home at 2014 Villard Ave., Zaccard said. Firefighters initially went into the house but had to retreat because of the gas, Zaccard said.
    'There was a lot of gas leaking here and when it goes in the sewers, it can go in a lot of directions," Zaccard said. "We had a ticking bomb here. We had to orchestrate our operations just right."
    The house has burned to the ground, Zaccard said.




    *So what we have here was a plugged main and the man cleaning the sewer thought he was going through some tough roots and the poor

    man blew through a gas main.My personal best is a 440 volt power line.

  • #2
    Re: Gas service run through sewer line

    I have had two instances like this. First was a 2" high pressure gas main bored through a home owners sewer. After an hour of trying to bust through the spot with the rod I gave up and located the problem and dug it up. To my surprise there was a 2" yellow plastic gas main running through the sewer and I had taken a few good bites into it.]

    The second one was a crawl space main line. My partner was feeding me the cable through the access hole, and we where drilling for about two hours(cable stopped inching in) we gave up and located the line. Turned out to be in the parkway in a village that takes responsibility for sewer troubles from the sidewalk to their connection. About a week goes by and one of the village guys caught me at lunch at a local dive. He came up to me and said " Damn Ron, you are on lucky SOB. We dug up that sewer in the park way. Turns out Com Ed bored a hole through the home owners sewer and laid high voltage line through the sewer." He then informed me we cut the neutral wire and was nicking the insulation of the hot wire.
    Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
    A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
    Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
    Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Gas service run through sewer line

      I have had 1 that we could not get thru sent the camera in and there was the gas line right in the middle of the pipe. We have spoke of this before on the forum in todays blind boring you have to really watch out for power,fiber optics and gas lines. One of the reasons we send in the small arrow boring bit to get a line flowing to get the camera in there when it just doesn't feel right. Man I Love having cameras!
      Seattle Drain Service

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      • #4
        Re: Gas service run through sewer line

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Gas service run through sewer line

          i posted of this a number of years ago and i was lucky to clear the line, and locate the gas main. city shut off the gas and repaired the sewer line. plus they paid all their sewer plumbing bills for the last 5 years it was there and plugged up.

          what caught me was it was my first time there and i was the one that cut into it. how about the last 15 guys 5 years x 3 times a year

          rick.
          phoebe it is

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Gas service run through sewer line

            Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
            i posted of this a number of years ago and i was lucky to clear the line, and locate the gas main. city shut off the gas and repaired the sewer line. plus they paid all their sewer plumbing bills for the last 5 years it was there and plugged up.

            what caught me was it was my first time there and i was the one that cut into it. how about the last 15 guys 5 years x 3 times a year

            rick.
            Rick, I'm thinking the gas line died the death of a thousand cuts, and you just happened to have the knife that broke the camel's back? (I like mixing metaphors).

            I grew up in St. Paul's Highland Park. I should check the news to see if I ever shoveled their snow when I was a kid.
            Last edited by geno gardner; 02-02-2010, 01:21 AM. Reason: grammer
            Time flies like an arrow.

            Fruit flies like a banana.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Gas service run through sewer line

              Originally posted by geno gardner View Post
              Rick, I'm thinking the gas line died the death of a thousand cuts, and you just happened to have the knife that broke the camel's back? (I like mixing metaphors).

              I grew up in St. Paul's Highland Park. I should check the news to see if I ever shoveled their snow when I was a kid.
              nope. i know that the others just cleared the line, while i cleaned the line with full size sharp cutters.

              today the k-60 would have ate it for lunch as the spiral rootsaw is a very hungry cutter and it eats good

              rick.
              phoebe it is

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Gas service run through sewer line

                The town I live in gas been running fiber optic/Internet for the last 2 yrars and ive had 4 customers that theyve drilled right throught the sewer pipe, Luckily its not gas lines.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Gas service run through sewer line

                  Here is an updated story,
                  I have bumped into these guys many times,

                  Gas-fueled St. Paul fire may be linked to '03 warning

                  The gas-fueled fire that destroyed a St. Paul home is being investigated by Minnesota's Department of Pipeline Safety, the same agency that issued a warning which may have prevented the fire.
                  St. Paul fire officials said the fire started in a home on Villard Avenue in St. Paul's Highland neighborhood around 11 a.m.
                  Lee Moey was in the basement of the home working to clear a clogged sewer line. Moey, who works with his father Ron Moey, owner of Ron the Sewer Rat, said it was a routine call and something he has done thousands of times in his 16 years in the business.
                  But then there was an explosion.
                  "I heard the glass break in the basement windows," said Moey. "Anything that was flammable just started on fire."
                  Moey was able to get the homeowner out of the home, but suffered burns to his face.
                  The neighborhood was evacuated while fire crews worked to stop the fire from spreading to nearby homes.
                  Fire officials said firefighters were unable to tackle the main fire right away because of the leaking gas. They said dousing the fire could have allowed the gas to build up and caused another explosion.
                  Moey said the explosion happened when equipment he was using struck an Xcel Energy natural gas line that he did not know was there.
                  Moey said, "You just don't expect a gas line to be in the middle of the sewer."
                  A similar incident seven years ago in St. Paul prompted the state to send out a warning. The state sent 23,000 letters to plumbers and contractors. It read, "Utility lines may have been inadvertently installed through some sewer lines" and could pose a "risk to public safety."
                  Officials have not yet determined whether or not a gas line was in the sewer.
                  Xcel Energy officials said they won't comment on Monday's fire until after the investigation is complete.
                  However, they did say Xcel Energy reminds all of its customers once a year to contact the company if property owners plan on clearing their sewer lines. Xcel Energy will inspect the lines at no charge.
                  Xcel Energy said the new gas lines were installed in the neighborhood in the 1990s.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Gas service run through sewer line

                    This happens way more than you guys would think. Very dangerous situation... I have seen some gruesome pictures of guys who have hit those lines and been caught in the basement when the gas ignites.

                    If something feels wrong stick your camera down there to verify what your chewing on.

                    Attached Files

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                    • #11
                      Re: Gas service run through sewer line

                      i beleive that our gas supplier / southern calif. gas co. no longer does pipe boring due this happening. with all the underground utilities, they've hit their fair share.

                      rick.
                      phoebe it is

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Gas service run through sewer line

                        Update...

                        Xcel plans search for mislaid gas lines

                        Some 50,000 St. Paul homes are likely to be checked for the hazard
                        By Tad Vezner
                        tvezner@pioneerpress.com
                        Updated: 02/19/2010 11:08:12 PM CST


                        Xcel Energy put forth a plan Friday to inspect tens of thousands of St. Paul homes in search of possible ruptured utility lines like the one blamed for the fire that destroyed a Highland Park home this month.
                        The three-year plan does not yet have a price tag but would run to "at least seven figures," said Bill Kaphing, the company's vice president of operations. It would encompass every unchecked St. Paul home that Xcel has worked on.
                        Initially, the plan would target St. Paul, "where the majority of conflicts have been identified," as well as hospitals, schools and churches — but eventually would cover all Xcel customers statewide.
                        "We've never had a project that had such size and scope, so we really don't know (the cost)," Kaphing said.
                        According to initial projection, he said, about 50,000 St. Paul homes will be inspected
                        Andy Skoogman, a spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said in response to the plan that "Xcel Energy's actions so far show us they appear to be doing the right thing to ensure public safety."
                        He said state officials would work closely with Xcel on the timeline and will propose "an enhanced monitoring system that will likely require Xcel to consistently report to us and disclose ongoing progress."
                        A week ago, the state Office of Pipeline Safety threatened Xcel with a $1 million fine unless the company presented an acceptable plan to find and fix all utility lines that had been inadvertently installed through sewer pipes.
                        The demand followed a Feb. 1 explosion in which a contractor using an auger to clear the sewer line at 2014 Villard Ave. ruptured a plastic gas line that had been accidentally installed through the pipe in 1991. The workman suffered first-degree burns in the ensuing explosion and fire.
                        The gas line, like many installed across St. Paul in recent decades, was installed using "trenchless" boring, in which utility lines are laid underground without disruptive — and costly — excavation.
                        A similar explosion occurred in 2000 in the same neighborhood, badly injuring a plumber. In all, inspectors have found nearly 40 breached lines in checks of an estimated 4,000 high-risk east metro homes.
                        No additional breached lines have been found in the area of the latest accident.
                        The Office of Pipeline Safety ordered Xcel to turn over a list of all trenchless gas lines in Minnesota, list those already inspected and submit a plan and timeline to inspect the remainder. Any newly discovered ruptures would have to be fixed within two weeks.
                        For homes outside the east metro area, Kaphing said Friday, Xcel is compiling a map of any of its 430,000 customers who might have had trenchless lines installed nearby. He said that over the years, Xcel never tracked where it laid the lines — so to be safe, it will check every area where lines could have been laid.
                        Kaphing said he did not have an estimate of how many of Xcel's customers would be affected. He said rural areas — or anywhere without a city sewer system — would be safe.
                        "I'd be totally guessing at a percentage, so I won't," Kaphing said. He said the map would be completed by the end of next week.
                        Xcel officials have stressed that homes are not at risk unless a sewer line is actively being worked on.
                        In St. Paul, Xcel officials will begin putting out bids immediately for the work and will work closely with city officials, Kaphing said.
                        The company said it also will initiate a new awareness campaign targeting plumbers and sewer cleaning contractors, as well as equipment rental companies and trade schools.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Gas service run through sewer line

                          I would bid that!

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                          • #14
                            Re: Gas service run through sewer line

                            not bad, as i've already cut into a gas line and another utility conduit over the years.

                            rick.
                            phoebe it is

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Gas service run through sewer line

                              We ripped through a gas pipe with the 'Blade Cutter' attached to the Root Ranger on the end of the water jetter. Customer called us back saying they could still smell the sewer in their bathroom. We returned to find the toilet bowl bubbling gas (I have a video of it somewhere). The street was shut down. Gas co. had us dig down on the pipe and they made a repair around the sewer pipe and then denied being responsible!!
                              Regards, Bill

                              The definition of Insanity: "Doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result."
                              Albert Einstein

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