2013-08-01 / Front Page

Gas Line Breaks Near Towanda

Leak Under Control Within Two Hours
By Rick Hiduk

A gas line rupture in the area of Sugar Creek Road west of Towanda on Monday evening drew quick response from local firefighters and the company that owns the transmission line. While service to some customers of Valley Energy was temporarily disrupted, the leak was halted and is now being assessed for repair.

Bradford County Emergency Management Director Bob Barnes explained that the eight-inch line that broke transports customer-ready natural gas from the Tennessee Natural Gas Pipeline to residents in the Sayre/Athens area.

Bob Crocker, President and CEO of Valley Energy, confirmed that the line broke just prior to 11 p.m., and escaping gas was heard by a nearby resident who called 911.

Valley Energy technicians moved swiftly to cut off the flow of gas by shutting inline valves, and contractors were on the scene Monday assessing the status of the underground line.

“Valley Energy closed the valves and isolated the break area in a relatively short period of time,” Barnes stated, adding that the incident was under control by 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

Firefighters from Towanda and North Towanda secured the perimeters of the scene. Three families in Towanda Township evacuated voluntarily as a precaution.

Barnes said that PA DEP, PA PUC, and PEMA were notified of the situation and a final account on the matter was transmitted from Bradford County Emergency Operations Center at about 2:30 a.m.

“Everyone was notified once we did the PA incident emergency report (PIER),” he noted.

Crocker related that 10 customers initially lost gas service due to the event. Since then, natural gas to the Sayre/Athens area is “feeding through a secondary line with lower pressure.” While no present danger exists, Valley Energy customers are asked to keep gas use to a minimum to help the company maintain the reduced pressure until the situation can be rectified.

He was hoping to get a report from the contractors by Tuesday afternoon to ascertain how long a permanent repair might take.

According to the company’s website, Valley Energy provides natural gas to more than 8,000 residences and business via a 165-mile pipeline system. The company was formed as Valley Cities Gas in 1944, while some of its municipal holdings were established as far back as 1859.

There was some confusion about the incident initially due to the proximity of the breakage to the Farr natural gas well pad. The two entities are unrelated, however, and the Farr pad was not involved.

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