March 5, 2013 | Vol. 73 No. 32

Equitable Gas to begin replacing gas lines in South Side Flats

Vowing “We want to be a good neighbor,” officials of Equitable Gas Co. kicked off a presentation on its mainline pipeline replacement program in the South Side.

The community meeting was held on February 26 in the Brashear Center.

Streets scheduled for pipeline replacement work in the next nine months include: 13th, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, Bingham, Jane, and Josephine streets; and Fox, Wrights, and Carey ways.

City Councilman Bruce Kraus said experience has taught him the work will be “as minimally invasive as possible.” The statement is based on his office receiving no complaints about similar work in the area by Equitable Gas.

“If things don’t work, my phone rings off the hook,” he said.

While the pipeline upgrade work will be financed by Equitable Gas, it is the customer’s responsibility to replace the home’s “customer service line” (CSL) if it is found defective after the new mainline is installed.

The CSL refers to the pipes into the house and furnace.

Project hours will be from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The work will begin this month and end in early November.

The company will replace any sidewalks it damages.

Besides South Side, pipeline replacement work will begin this month in the North Side, Friendship, and Shadyside neighborhoods.

Scott Waitlevertch, of the company’s external affairs department, said the project is about replacing the older pipe to create a better system, which is also better for customers.

The older pipe, which is 3 to 12 inches in diameter, will be replaced with 8-inch polyethylene pipe.

In the South Side, there will be two crews working at the same time on different jobs. Crew #1 will do four jobs, and Crew #2 will do five jobs.

The job order for Crew #1 is:

Job 1: 13th St. from Carson St. to Muriel St.; and Bingham St. from 12th St. to 13th St.;

Job 2: Fox Way from 17th St. to 20th St.;

Job 3: Wrights Way from 17th St. to 20th St.;

Job 4: 22nd St. from Carson St. to Merriman Way; and 24th St. from Sidney St. to Sarah St.

The job order for Crew #2 is:

Job 1: 22nd St. from Carson St. to Sarah St.; and Carey Way from 21st St. to 22nd St.;

Job 2: Jane St. from 20th St. to 23rd St.; and 23rd St. from Carson St. to Jane St.;

Job 3: 24th St. from Mary St. to Sarah St.; Jane St. from 24th St. to 25th St.; 25th St. from Sarah St. to Carey Way;

Job 4: 26th St. from Sarah St. to Jane St.; Jane St. from 26th St. to 27th St.; 27th St. from Jane St. to Sarah St.; Jane St. from 28th St. to the dead end;

Job 5: Josephine St. from Eleanor St. to 27th St.

Each crew begins in March. As a crew completes its first job it begins its second job.

The weather will be a factor, and the order may be adjusted if there are delays.

Customers of Columbia Gas will not be affected beyond the inconvenience of noise and temporary parking restrictions.

The process begins with letters or door cards in the affected communities announcing the start of work, contact information, and restoration of service process.

Residents will notice the marking of existing utilities on streets/yards with paint.

Temporary survey markings will be in pink colors.

Residents are asked to abide by the posting of “no parking” signs on streets as any hang-ups will delay the project. The signs will be erected several days ahead of time.

Non-compliance may result in the towing of vehicles.

When the work ends at 5 p.m., vehicles may be parked on the street again.

Equitable Gas employees and contractors will always be on the site during work hours.

There will be trenches and/or holes in the streets and sidewalks to install the new polyethylene piping.

Once the pipe is installed, the company will do temporary installation to ensure there are no work-related issues, and bundle permanent restoration projects to reduce costs.

When the new mainline is installed at a depth of 36 inches, customers will be contacted by a representative and receive a service interruption notice. Customers’ natural gas will be disconnected from the old mainline.

Pressure testing of the mainline and CSL for safety – as required by federal and state regulations -- will take place. If the CSL is found defective, it must be replaced at the customer’s expense.

A list of operator certified service line installers is on the Equitable Gas website.

There is a 12 to 15 percent rate of failure in Pittsburgh for CSLs.

If you have an outside meter, you do not have to be present for the pressure tests, but you must contact Equitable Gas for the safety tests and to have service restarted.

If you have an inside meter, you must be present. Tests can take from one to one-and-a-half hours. Service can be returned after the tests.

“We’ll be there to assist you with whatever we can,” said Ken Lyle, director of operations construction for Equitable Gas.

If, in a customer’s house, an appliance is observed to have an issue, such as the stove, Equitable Gas personnel will red tag the item, and the customer must repair it.

“We want you to be safe using our products,” Mr. Waitlevertch said.

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