CBC News, May 10, 2010
A top municipal engineer is blaming a cheaper method of installing underground gas lines for a dangerous gas leak last week in Victoria and has asked Terasen Gas to suspend the practice.
The natural gas pipeline was ruptured when municipal crews cleaning a storm sewer cut into a gas pipeline that had been installed by boring right through the municipal sewer.
About 30 buildings including the Mayfair Mall were evacuated because of the leak.
Oak Bay's chief engineer Dave Marshall blames inaccurate drawings and a new method Terasen Gas is using to install pipelines for creating a dangerous situation.
Rather than digging to install pipelines, the province's primary natural gas supplier has been using less-expensive boring. But that method can drive a gas pipeline into municipal sewer and storm pipes without anyone knowing it's happened, said Marshall.
Marshall said he's documented other similar situations in his municipality.
"I've got about 10 reports here of conflicts with gas lines, some of which were actually marked out by the gas company," Marshall told CBC News.
"So the first thing I think about is how many other gas lines might there be in a similar situation, accidents waiting to happen out there we don't even know about," said Marshall.
Marshall said he plans to talk with Terasen this week about a protocol for installing new gas lines and remapping existing ones.
In the meantime he said he's asking Terasen to suspend the use of boring equipment for new installations until a new protocol is in place.