In his report to council, Mayor Al Bollas provided the latest information from Dominion East Ohio Gas regarding its investigation into a gas line failure July 23 on Dailey Road, between Center and Nimisila roads.
Bollas expressed disappointment with the utility's assertion that the incident was a case of "operator communication error along with construction in the area … creating a perfect storm in the line."
Bollas noted that he was not aware of any construction in the area at the time of the July incident. When contacted by The Suburbanite, Dominion Storage Manager Leighton McCoy stated that the information provided to Bollas erroneously referenced an incident in Chippewa Township around the same time as the Dailey Road failure.
The cause of the line failure on Dailey Road, McCoy said, has been determined as isolated internal corrosion of the pipe.
On the day of the line failure, the 40-foot section of pipe was taken to an independent lab for testing and Dominion crews replaced 4,400 feet of pipe north and south of where the pipe exploded.
"We have no concerns with the pipe, but we wanted to be more proactive," McCoy said of the need for replacing that many feet of pipe.
The compromised section of pipe was a normal storage line and not a well – as had been initially reported by some sources. In the wake of the lab results, McCoy said Dominion will continue to investigate what caused the pipe corrosion.
"That is sometimes caused by the presence of fluid in the pipe at a low point," McCoy said. "But this was not a low point."
The root cause of the explosion could go back as far as the installation of the pipe in 1959, when it may have been struck in some manner, weakening that section. McCoy said Dominion is confident, however, that the incident is an isolated one and that there is no related risk to the community.
"That is why all our pipe is coated and there is regular cleaning and annual inspections of all the lines in the system," McCoy said.
On the day of the incident, neighbors said a sound described as an explosion was heard around 6 a.m., several streets away from the site. New Franklin Police Detective Michael Hitchings said the decision to temporarily evacuate of the area was made by local police and fire officials.
The evacuation was lifted when safety services were assured by Dominion crews at the scene that the gas from the line had dissipated upward, causing no safety concerns to residents.