Chesterton Tribune


NIPSCO gas lateral cut on Wabash Ave

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The residents of a home in the 300 block of Wabash Ave. were briefly evacuated on Monday, after a utility crew working in the front yard struck an abandoned natural-gas lateral.

Then, in making repairs on the lateral, a NIPSCO crew discovered a leak in a main valve one block to the west and worked all night Tuesday to make that repair.

The incident began at 10:02 a.m. Monday, when an Indiana American Water Company (IAWC) crew working on a water service in the 300 block of Wabash Ave. hit and breached a natural-gas lateral, Chesterton Fire Chief Mike Orlich told the Chesterton Tribune today. IAWC had done its locates prior to excavation but apparently there was no record of the steel gas lateral, which had been plugged on the residence side but not at the main, Orlich said.

The gas lateral was probably at least half a century old, Orlich noted.

The breach in the lateral occurred only 10 to 12 feet from the home’s front door and the prevailing wind was blowing the escaping gas toward the house, prompting the NIPSCO staff who arrived quickly at the scene to evacuate its residents, Orlich said.

The CFD also responded to the scene and remained there until 11:15 a.m. NIPSCO, meanwhile, was forced to close that stretch of Wabash Ave. for much of Monday afternoon to repair the breach.

While making that repair, however, the NIPSCO crew discovered a leak in a main valve in the 400 block of Wabash Ave., Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg told the Tribune. The crew began working on that leak on Tuesday and—“rather than leave the site open overnight,” he said—opted to work all night Tuesday.

The crew was finishing the job early this morning.


Posted 12/19/2012