Statement of John Walsh – Chief Executive Officer, UGI Utilities
13 Feb 2011
Over the past two days, teams of UGI and Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission investigators have been working at the site of the Allen Street explosion. Late last evening, a video scope was inserted into the gas main on Allen Street between 13th and Mercer. The main has been shut down since the February 9 explosion and has been the focus of our investigation into the cause of the incident. The video inspection revealed a section of pipeline which appears to have been damaged.
Crews exposed the damaged section of the pipe and conducted a visual inspection which revealed a break that we believe to be the likely source of the gas involved in this incident. We have shared this information with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission as part of our investigation plan, as well as with the Allentown Fire Department and Mayor’s office.
Tomorrow, the section of damaged pipe will be shipped to an independent lab, Affiliated Engineering Laboratory in Edison, New Jersey, for a thorough forensic examination and testing regarding the cause of the break. Affiliated is a nationally recognized forensic engineering firm that was chosen because of its extensive experience in testing of this nature. Soil tests will also be conducted on samples taken at the site to determine whether soil conditions played a role in the incident.
Our work on the site continues. However, in the meantime, residents and businesses in the affected area can be confident that it is safe. Our technicians have surveyed every foot of pipeline in the neighborhood, and crews remain on-site 24/7 to continuously survey the six-block affected area every 45 minutes.
On behalf of the entire UGI family, I would like to, again, express our sincere condolences to those families impacted by this tragedy. We remain focused on providing support to those families while we move forward with this critical investigation.