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Index > United States of America > Pennsylvania > Stray gas in Peters Township from Pipeline

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Dept. of Environmental Protection
Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120


02/11/2005 PITTSBURGH: Environmental Protection Southwest Regional Director Kenneth Bowman today announced that analysis of three stray methane gas samples taken from McMurray Road in Peters Township indicate the stray gas is coming from a Columbia Gas pipeline.

The stray gas was tested and compared to a sample of Columbia Gas’ product.

“We have notified Columbia Gas of our findings and they are responding,” Bowman said.

“We will continue to assist the Peters Township Fire Department for as long as necessary to monitor gas levels at the site even as Columbia Gas searches for the source of the leak.”

The test results, which were received today, eliminated the possibility that the stray methane was related to overburden gas or coal mining.

Further isotopic analysis was required to determine that the gas was pipeline gas.

Isotopic analysis is a geochemical technique analogous to genetic fingerprinting. Gases created by different processes exhibit different chemical or molecular compositions and stable isotope signatures.

By plotting these signatures, and then extracting variables such as oxidation of the gas, the department was able to conclude that the source of the stray gas was a Columbia Gas pipeline.

DEP emergency responders, oil and gas and mining staff and the Department’s expert on isotope geochemistry, have been on the scene since the stray methane was detected on Feb. 8th.

When the source of the methane could not be immediately determined, DEP took gas samples in order to determine the methane’s origin.






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