GOUVERNEUR — The state’s Department of Public Services is investigating the cause of the July 2 gas line break that prevented people from entering Gouverneur Hospital, 77 W. Barney St., and closed some streets for several hours.

“An investigation occurs when there is an accident involving a gas line,” said James Denn, DPS spokesman.

Terry Simmons, the village’s superintendent of public works, said a subcontractor working for JL Excavation LLC, Chaumont, tore a 2-inch hole in a 6-inch gas line while boring for a new water line for the village.

The work was part of a two-year project undertaken by the village to improve water service.

“They were boring for a new 8-inch water line when they dug a hole in the side of the gas line,” he said.

Officials from JL Excavation would not comment.

Mr. Simmons said he was told by Enbridge/St. Lawrence Gas workers that an estimated 500,000 gallons of gas were released as a result of the rupture, but no injuries or deaths were reported.

He said the cost of the lost gas will be charged to the contractor and that Enbridge is also expected to charge for having staff and equipment at the site for about six hours that day.

Mr. Simmons noted that contractors are required to have liability insurance and bonding to help cover unexpected costs.

“It’s going to be quite an expensive bill,” he said. “They do have insurance companies to pay when a mishap like this happens,” he said.

Enbridge did not return calls seeking comment.

Village Mayor Ronald McDougall said the rupture was very disruptive. Responding to the scene were Gouverneur fire and police departments, which helped divert traffic. The state Department of Transportation and the village DPW was also there.

“It certainly was a troubling situation and it caused a major inconvenience,” Mr. McDougall said.

Whitney Hicks, a hospital spokeswoman, said fire officials used an air monitor in the hospital parking lot to determine when it was safe for employees to leave.

“Everyone was able to leave on time,” she said.

Although incoming patients had to be diverted to other hospitals for a large portion of that day, Ms. Hicks said the situation did not require an evacuation.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1


Have been a reporter since 1991

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(1) comment


Oh great, we get a bunch of Albany nitwits coming here wasting our money to tell us what we already know. The contractor screwed the pooch and broke the gas main, end of story. We don't need Albany to tell us what is obvious.

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