Lanett citizens asked to not to dig, avoid pipeline accidents

Published 1:00 am Friday, September 29, 2023

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LANETT — Lanett residents are receiving notices in their utility bills urging them to be careful if they are considering doing some digging on their property. Anyone thinking about doing this needs to call 811 some 48 hours before doing it. This number will get them in touch with the utility owners who know of all the buried utility lines on their property. This will allow you to safety dig and prevent a potentially hazardous situation. Failure to call the 811 system has been known to use pipeline accidents. Calling before you dig can prevent a costly, or even a deadly, mistake.

Lanett is one of only six Alabama cities that have been approved for a federal grant to replace a large number of cast iron pipes in its natural gas delivery system. Most of these pimples have been in the ground since the early 1950s and are in need of replacement. PVC-type pipe is what is commonly used today in the delivery of natural gas. Lanett has approximately seven miles of underground pipes in its natural gas system. These aging pipes will be replaced with newer, more modern pipe.

“I’m hoping work can start on it this year,” Gas Department head Allen Summers said. “Work will start once the project administrator, Sara Byard, give us the go ahead. We expect the bulk of the work to be done in 2024. Dan Cochran of the Birmingham area is our engineer. He has been working with the city for years and understands our gas system better than anyone. He knows our system very well and will be very helpful in this process.”

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A contractor will be hired to do the work.

Summers said the city provides natural gas to more than 1,250 customers through a network of underground distribution lines. The main gas lines are usually two inches in diameter and are buried from 12 to 18 inches below the surface. Service lines go to each individual home. They are typically a half inch or three-quarters of an inch in diameter and end at the meter where gas is delivered.

Natural gas is colorless and odorless. A chemical that smells like rotten eggs is added to help detect possible leaks. Some signs of a gas leak include seeing bubbling water, hearing a hissing or blowing sound from a pipeline or appliance, dead or discolored vegetation in an otherwise green area, or dirt or dust blowing from the ground, or the smell of rotten eggs.

“If you smell gas, or just think you might have a gas leak, leave the area immediately and call the city at (334) 644-2141 or 911 from a neighboring home or business,” Summers said. “Never turn on or off switches, open or close large doors, use a flashlight or phone/cell phone in the presence of a gas smell. These devices can be a source of ignition, causing an explosion.”

Natural gas has proven to be the most popular home heating fuel in the United States. It’s increasingly popular in homes, schools, businesses, factories and electric power generation plants because it’s an efficient, clean, reliable bargain compared to other sources.

Two local industries, Knauf and West Frazer, are among the largest natural gas industrial users in the state. Both have very good safety records.