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Press Release

Safety Probe Underway for Natural Gas Line ‘Hit’ in Hershey

Published on 4/4/2019

Filed under: Gas

HARRISBURG – Safety engineers from the PUC’s Pipeline Safety Division – part of the Commission’s independent Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement (I&E) – responded late this morning to reports that a construction crew had struck a natural gas line near the intersection of Chocolate Avenue and North Ridge Road in Hershey, Derry Township, Dauphin County. 

The incident reportedly involves damage to a 4-inch natural gas line operated by UGI Utilities.

As part of the initial response, natural gas service and electric service was shut off around the incident site and a 300-foot evacuation zone was established around the site. While the evacuation was lifted by mid-afternoon, utility crews will continue to coordinate with local emergency responders concerning safety and traffic detours in the area.

Crews from UGI are monitoring gas levels around the site and will begin repair work when it is safe to proceed. When repairs are completed, UGI crews will work with the approximately 250 customers who have been impacted by the incident, to safely restore their natural gas service.

Engineers from the Pipeline Safety Division will continue to monitor the repair work and the circumstances surrounding this incident will be investigated by both the Pipeline Safety Division and Damage Prevention Committee.

The Pipeline Safety Division appreciates the cooperation of local emergency responders and emergency management officials, utilities and the residents and businesses impacted by this incident.

Reporting Pipeline Safety Incidents

The Pipeline Safety Division encourages residents and businesses located near pipelines to understand how to recognize and report unusual incidents involving those lines – including the sounds, smells and sights of possible leaks.

Pipeline operators are required to regularly provide safety and awareness information to property owners along their routes, along with emergency contact information. If you suspect a leak, call 9-1-1 or local emergency responders and the pipeline operator from a safe location.

About the Bureau of Investigation & Enforcement

As the independent investigation and enforcement bureau of the PUC, I&E enforces state and federal pipeline safety and motor carrier safety laws and regulations and represents the public interest in ratemaking and service matters before the PUC’s Office of Administrative Law Judge.  I&E has the authority to bring enforcement action, seek emergency orders from the Commission or take other steps to ensure public safety.

About the Damage Prevention Committee (DPC)

The DPC – which is an integral part of I&E – is focused on a reduction in the number of “hits” on underground utilities.

State law requires contractors and residents to contact the PA One Call program at least three business days prior to excavation – triggering alerts to all utilities within an intended digging area and prompting utilities to mark where their facilities are located. Pennsylvanians can dial 8-1-1 to connect with the One Call system, while out-of-state residents or businesses can call 1-800-242-1776.

The DPC meets regularly to review alleged violations of the One Call Law and makes determinations as to the appropriate response including, but not limited to, the issuance of warning letters or administrative penalties.

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