200 Nelsonville customers to receive gas line upgrades

200 Nelsonville customers to receive gas line upgrades
By Larry Di Giovanni Athens Messenger Staff Journalist, Jan 3, 2018

 NELSONVILLE — Columbia Gas of Ohio will be replacing hundreds of gas service lines for about 200 residential and commercial customers near the center of Nelsonville, with work expected to begin within the next one to two weeks.

A three-page letter has been sent to customers detailing the project under the heading, “We’re replacing the natural gas system in your neighborhood.” The letter alerts customers to the project proceeding in stages, which begins with marking the right-of-way and existing utilities with flags, stakes and temporary paint.

Soon after, the next steps involve installing new main lines, often following street right-of-ways, replacing service lines that run from the main lines to home and business meters, locating any indoor gas meters to the outside of the home or business, and then restoring the property to its former condition.

Although the interruption to individual home and business owners should take no more than a few hours at most, the entire project including restoring properties could take up to several weeks.

“We have been replacing our gas systems throughout Ohio for about a decade,” said Dave Rau, Columbia Gas of Ohio communications manager. “Nelsonville’s gas lines have served the city’s residents well but now it’s time to replace them.”

A public meeting for the public to learn more is scheduled for Jan. 9 at 6 p.m. in the Nelsonville Public Library conference room at 95 W. Washington St.

Streets to receive new gas lines include portions of Franklin, Washington, Columbia, Fayette, Monroe, Jefferson, Watkins, and Myers streets, along with Rocky Boots Way. Work will begin at the corner of Canal Street and Rocky Boot Way involving one work crew of four, followed by another crew later, Rau said.

The work will proceed neighborhood by neighborhood and should be completed by summer.

Before the gas line system replacement begins, Columbia Gas of Ohio will do some advance work that involves boring holes into the sewer system and getting video, both before and after project completion. This is used to determine that no harm has been done to the sewer system in areas where new natural gas lines have been run underground, Rau said.

Columbia Gas of Ohio utilizes the statewide 811 “Call before you dig” number that alerts other utilities to work about to proceed at least a few days in advance, so that all have a chance to mark their service lines.

The number one reason for emergency calls regarding natural gas lines isn’t about their rupture due to age, Rau said. Instead, he said it happens most frequently because people dig into an area and damage a gas line without checking to see if it was there.

Columbia Gas of Ohio has invested more than $1.5 billion in communities to replace aging gas lines over the past decade, Rau said. The impact on improved safety has been substantial, with leaks reduced by 40 percent.

Overall, Columbia Gas of Ohio has 1,440 Nelsonville customers, Rau noted.