Our Northwest

Check for gas before clearing sewer pipes

Friday, June 13, 2014by  Jon Osterberg

My latest Puget Sound Energy bill had a flier warning residents that if they clear a blocked sewer, there’s a small chance they could rupture a gas line.
   Obviously, that presents danger.
   This occurs in neighborhoods where natural gas was installed without digging trenches, and the gas line was accidentally inserted through a sewer pipe.
   PSE calls these “cross bores.” The danger comes from powerful cutting blades that plumbers use to clear sewer-pipe obstacles like intrusive roots. Those blades could sever a gas line, and natural gas is highly flammable.
   Even if you don’t use natural gas in your home, PSE says there could be cross bores below your street or near a neighbor’s home.
   So here’s the point: Before you clear a sewer-pipe blockage, call your neighborhood’s gas company. If it’s PSE, call 888-225-5773, and they’ll dispatch a technician at no cost to make sure your pipe is safe.

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