Southwest Gas executives claim record keeping issue for piping with history of degradation caused two major gas leaks in the Valley

Southwest Gas executives advised the Arizona Corporate Commission the M-8000 pipe was mislabeled and may have been changed between 1999 and 2001.

PHOENIX — Southwest Gas executives confronted an onslaught of questions from the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) on why Valley communities have skilled three major gas leaks in lower than a year.

Timeline of incidents resulting in the ACC listening to

In February, a ruptured gas line caused flames to erupt beneath the seventh Street Bridge over the Salt River between Broadway and the I-17. Six months later the bridge has reopened. 

Last month, the gas company discovered {that a} defective pipe and human error result in the Chandler Platinum Printing Company explosion. The blast despatched 4 males to the hospital with severe burn accidents. 

Just weeks in the past, no less than 20 houses in a north Scottsdale neighborhood close to McDowell Mountain Ranch Road and Paradise Lane have been evacuated after reviews of an underground gas leak. 

Executives advised the commissioner the gas explosion in August at the Platinum Printing Company and leak in north Scottsdale have been as a consequence of piping that ought to have been changed between 1999 and 2001.

“The pipe in question was a 1-inch Driscopipe M-8000,” Luis Frisby, Vice President of Central Arizona Division for Southwest Gas advised the fee members. 

What is Driscopipe M-8000 and why is it probably an issue?

The small plastic piping is primarily made of nylon and in 2012, the Pipeline and Hazardous Safety Materials Administration (PHMSA) issued an advisory the mannequin might degrade below excessive temperatures. 

Southwest Gas mentioned it first turned conscious of the potential points in 2005. Three years later they obtained they reported their first gas leak as a consequence of inner degradations. In 2010, executives mentioned they understood there have been points with the pipe as a consequence of excessive warmth environments. 

Mislabeled pipes led to data error

Although company executives knew of the potential points and inspected for leaks, they advised the fee the leaking pipes have been labeled at M-8100 pipes which changed the older fashions between 1999 and 2001. 

“We have discovered an error in the construction records misidentified the type of gas pipe used when facilities were extended to the commercial complex,” said Frisby. “This information was then placed in our mapping system which labeled the pipe material as M-8100.”  

What is the company doing now to keep away from others leaks and major incidents?

Executives advised the fee they’re now reviewing data for all piping between 1999 and 2001 in the high-temperature areas of higher Phoenix, Bullhead City and Yuma. 

“Southwest Gas transition to the M-8000 pipe material to the M-8100 during the 1999 to 2001 timeframe,” mentioned Frisby. 

The company is now treating all plastic piping put in in these three years as M-8000 pipe. They are additionally conducting cell patrols and educating clients on gas leaks. 

When Commissioner Sandra Kennedy requested the company CEO John Hester on the chance of one other incident just like Chandler occurring, he advised her “essentially zero,” as a consequence of solely two or three leaks reported each year. 

What about the seventh Street Bridge leak and fireplace? 

Executives advised the fee the gas leak had nothing to do with M-8000 piping and that an ongoing investigation thus far has discovered tampering with the piping.

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