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Having presented its June 9th report on last year's East Harlem gas explosion, the National Transportation Safety Board is calling for changes from Con Ed and the City to prevent such accidents in the future. NTSB made four recommendations to Con Ed:

  • Revise the plastic pipe fusion welding procedure to require cleaning of the surfaces to be welded with suitable solvents to remove all dirt, water, oil, paint and other contaminants.
  • Revise the plastic pipe fusion welding procedure to specify that the solidified beads should be visually examined after completing a joint to ensure the beads are uniformly shaped and sized around the joint.
  • Provide clear written guidance to the Gas Emergency Response Center staff on the conditions for promptly notifying the FDNY and provide additional staff training.
  • Extend the gas main isolation valve installation program to include strategic locations where long distribution mains currently cannot be isolated, giving priority to pipelines in more densely populated areas.

Con Ed spokesman Michael Clendenin said the utility agrees "with many of the NTSB's recommendations, and many new gas safety and quality control measures are already underway." With almost 4,300 miles of natural gas pipeline, 52 percent of which was installed prior to 1970, Con Ed has got a lot of ground to cover. The company has been called out for having some of the nation's most dangerous pipelines, producing an astonishing 456.12 hazardous leaks per 1,000 miles of pipe. Despite an aggressive program to replace 60 to 70 miles of pipe per year, it will take Con Ed 30 years to replace all the obsolete cast iron and bare steel pipe in its system.

In the meantime, New Yorkers must be more alert to the very real possibility of a dangerous gas leak, and report their suspicions in a timely manner.

If you or a loved one has sustained injuries in a gas explosion or fire, the personal injury attorneys at Rubin & Licatesi, P.C. are here to help. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 516-227-2662 or contact our Brooklyn office online.

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