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Black Hills Energy responding to suspected natural gas incident in Gypsum, Colorado

Statement from Black Hills Energy on natural gas incident in Gypsum

GYPSUM, CO – Sept. 19, 2020 - Black Hills Energy technicians continue to respond to the natural gas incident that occurred on Thursday, September 17 in the Chatfield Corners neighborhood in Gypsum. Technicians are working today to safely restore service to 75 customers.

We appreciate the public and the media’s patience in waiting for additional information while the incident investigation is being conducted. Although the investigation is not complete, based upon information released to local media, the following is additional information in response to questions that have been raised since the incident: 

What time was a natural gas leak reported?

Black Hills Energy was notified by 911 dispatchers at 9:30 a.m. of a damaged gas line in the Chatfield Corners neighborhood.

Technicians were dispatched by Black Hills Energy at 9:37 a.m. to respond to a report of a damaged natural gas line.

What time did technicians arrive to begin investigating the gas leak?

Technicians arrived on scene at 9:48 a.m. and began a leak investigation. The initial investigation quickly determined the damaged natural gas line was the source of the leak and technicians began working to secure the damaged line.

Did crews cause additional gas leaks?

No, there were no other leaks. Earlier reports of previous damage to the pipe were incorrect. There were no other hits to the line as reported earlier.

Black Hills Energy did receive four additional reports of natural gas odor in the area Thursday morning. Technicians responded to all reports of natural gas odor and performed thorough leak investigations. Technicians determined there were no natural gas leaks at these locations and all were attributed to the previously reported damaged natural gas line.

Could the distinct, rotten egg like odorant added to natural gas be detected in the area?

Black Hills Energy adds a chemical called, Mercaptan to the natural gas distribution system to create a rotten egg like smell. This distinct odor was present when technicians arrived on scene and in the neighborhood as also indicated by the reports received by Black Hills Energy dispatchers.                                      

In addition, as part of the ongoing investigation, initial testing determined odorant levels were at appropriate levels in the natural gas system serving the neighborhood.

What should someone do if they smell natural gas?

  • Be alert for leaking natural gas. If you smell natural gas, leave the building or area immediately and tell others to leave too.
  • After you’re safely away from the area, call 911 or Black Hills Energy at 888-890-5554. Never assume someone else has reported a natural gas leak. Alert your neighbors.
  • Do not turn on lights, ignite a flame, use a cell phone or use anything that might cause a spark, including a flashlight or a generator.
  • Never attempt to repair a natural gas leak, and do not attempt to turn natural gas valves on or off.

Updates on service restoration will be sent to local media in coordination with Eagle County. Customers can also obtain information on blackhillsenergy.com, Facebook and Twitter or by calling 888-890-5554.

 


Black Hills Energy works to return natural gas service to the impacted areas of the town of Gypsum, Colorado

GYPSUM, Colo. – September 19, 2020 - Black Hills Energy technicians have started the process of bringing natural gas customers back online following the shutdown of the system due to a natural gas incident.

“The process of bringing customers back on to the system requires several steps,”

“The process of bringing customers back on to the system requires several steps,” said Vance Crocker, vice president of operations Black Hills Energy Colorado. “We must first make sure all gas meters are off, then purge the system so it’s ready for the reintroduction of the natural gas supply. Finally, our technicians will go door-to-door and relight each customer’s gas appliances.”

During the purging process the small amount of gas at the meter will safely dissipate into the air, but there is a possibility that residents will detect a faint gas smell. The process is safe and Black Hills Energy technicians will be present during the process.

Black Hills Energy customers can assist in expediting the relighting efforts by providing access to gas meters and restraining pets who may be on the premises. Additionally, it is required that someone over 18 years of age be present during the relighting process. If a customer is not home when the Black Hills Energy technicians arrive to relight, a door tag will be left with information on how to have a relight. Customers should not attempt to relight their appliances on their own.

Please remember the following safety tips:

  • Be alert for leaking natural gas. If you smell natural gas, leave the building or area immediately and tell others to leave too.
  • After you’re safely away from the area, call 911 and our emergency number at 800-694-8989. Never assume someone else has reported a natural gas leak. Alert your neighbors.
  • Do not turn on lights, ignite a flame, use a cell phone or use anything that might cause a spark, including a flashlight or a generator.
  • Never attempt to repair a natural gas leak, and do not attempt to turn natural gas valves on or off.

 


GYPSUM, CO – Sept. 18, 2020 - The safety of our community, customers and employees is our first priority and Black Hills Energy has 25 team members on site working with first responders in response to yesterday’s suspected natural gas incident.

“We’re saddened to learn that a Gypsum resident died during the incident,”

“We’re saddened to learn that a Gypsum resident died during the incident,” stated Vance Crocker, vice president of Colorado operations for Black Hills Energy. “Our hearts and prayers are with the family and loved ones of the individual who lost their life and with all families and loved ones who are involved and who are affected. We’re working with all appropriate agencies to determine the cause of this tragedy.”

At this time:

  • Black Hills Energy is assisting in a thorough investigation being conducted by a third-party investigator and Eagle County Sheriff and Fire Departments to determine the origin and cause of the incident.
  • Natural gas service is shut off to the neighborhood of Chatfield Corners and as a safety precaution, the local fire department has evacuated nearby residents.
  • Black Hills Energy is testing and monitoring in the immediate area, and conducting pressure testing before service can be safely restored.
  • As we continue to address the situation, Fire Officials have designated the Gypsum Rec Centers as an evacuation location.
  • Once the system has been determined to be safe and secure and ready to be turned back on, crews will work to restore natural gas service to customers in the affected area as quickly as possible.
  • Any resident who had digging done on their property; Black Hills Energy will be restoring those items at our expense.

Please remember the following safety tips:

  • Be alert for leaking natural gas. If you smell natural gas, leave the building or area immediately and tell others to leave too.
  • After you’re safely away from the area, call 911 and our emergency number at 800-694-8989. Never assume someone else has reported a natural gas leak. Alert your neighbors.
  • Do not turn on lights, ignite a flame, use a cell phone or use anything that might cause a spark, including a flashlight or a generator.
  • Never attempt to repair a natural gas leak, and do not attempt to turn natural gas valves on or off.

Updates on service restoration will be sent to local media in coordination with Eagle County. Customers can also obtain information on blackhillsenergy.com, Facbeook and Twitter or by calling 888-890-5554.

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