Contractors to pay for pipes

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 14/03/2014
tdn gas full
ANDY JACKSON

Contractors hit a gas main in the New Plymouth CBD.

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Investigations are under way into two major central city gas pipeline leaks in central New Plymouth.

In each case evacuations were ordered until the escaping gas was brought under control.

In the first incident last Thursday contractors working in Gill St broke a 50mm gas pipe, resulting in two people being taken to hospital for gas inhalation.

A second gas leak at the Len Lye Centre construction site on Wednesday afternoon was also caused by contractors.

In both cases nearby buildings were evacuated, causing disruption to workers.

The contractors involved can now expect to receive large bills in the mail from the Fire Service.

Fire Service area commander Pat Fitzell, of New Plymouth, said the service would be charging the responsible contractors. In each case it would cost about $4000.

Mr Fitzell urged people working near gas pipelines to do their research.

"Find out where they are digging and what they are pulling down and where the services are so they can get them isolated.

"Obviously it inconveniences us and the public when you've got to evacuate commercial premises and businesses have to shut down."

Powerco gas operations manager Don Elers said an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the gas leak, on the corner of Devon and Queen streets, would be undertaken over the next few weeks. The damage was reported about 2pm on Wednesday. Crews were immediately sent to the site to contain the leak.

Mr Elers advised people to go to the beforeUdig.co.nz website.

"It's a simple measure to take to ensure people are safe, which is Powerco's main priority," Mr Elers said.

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