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Western Regional Gas Conference 2007 Effective Leakage Management. Ronald Six Senior Utility Consultant Loss Control Division AEGIS Insurance Services, Inc. 201/417-2487 A E G I S.

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Western Regional Gas Conference


Effective Leakage Management

Ronald Six

Senior Utility Consultant

Loss Control Division

AEGIS Insurance Services, Inc.






AEGISBackground Information

  • Utility Mutual Insurance Company
  • (member owned)
  • Formed in 1975 by 22 gas utilities
  • Electric Utilities began joining in 1977
  • 490 members – 95% utilities and related energy

Gas leaks are a part of our business and it is how you manage them that depends on whetheryou are making sound business decisions. Remember, they are not going to fix themselves and they will get bigger.





reasons we conduct gas leakage surveys

Federal & state requirements

Reduce unaccountable loss

Overview of the system

Reduce operating costs

Public image

Reasons We Conduct Gas Leakage Surveys

Public Safety


CFR 49 192.723 Distribution System: Leakage Surveys

(a) Each operator of a distribution system shall conduct periodic leakage surveys in accordance with this section.

(b) The type and scope of the leakage control survey must be determined by the nature of the operations and the local conditions, but must meet the following minimum requirements:

system review
System Review
  • Annual
    • Business district/Critical Areas
    • Public buildings
  • Scheduled Rotation
    • Residential
    • Steel CP Protected
    • Plastic pipe
    • Bare Steel-Unprotected areas
special surveys
Special Surveys
  • Cast iron
  • High leak frequency areas
  • Construction areas
  • Blasting areas
  • Pre-paving
  • Other
surface sampling survey methods mobil hfi or omd portable hfi or laser
Surface Sampling Survey MethodsMobil (HFI or OMD) Portable (HFI or Laser)


  • The above methods are search tools
  • The leak must be verified & classified
equipment needed to conduct a leakage detection survey
Equipment Needed To Conduct A Leakage Detection Survey
  • Surface sampling detector (HFI) other approved instruments
  • Combustible gas indicator
  • Probe bar
  • Maps/pipe locator
  • Leakage detection forms
  • Calibration/verification equipment
  • Trained operator
identifying gas leaks by vegetation damage
Identifying Gas Leaks By Vegetation Damage
  • Visual vegetation damage indications should still be taught as part of the leak survey process.
  • Vegetation is a keen indicator and it is becoming a lost art.

Mobile Leak Detection

portable hydrogen flame ion ization hfi instruments
Portable Hydrogen FlameIonization (HFI) Instruments
  • Search tool
  • Visual and audible indication of gas concentrations in ppm
  • Indications must be confirmed with a Combustible Gas Indicator (CGI)
remote methane leak detector
Remote Methane Leak Detector
  • Tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy
  • Laser
    • Infrared
    • Green sight
  • Methane only
    • absorbs portion of light
  • Ppm-m
  • Range – 100 feet
  • Through windows
Are you conducting a “leakage control survey”

or a

“controlled leakage survey”?

factors to consider when conducting the survey
Line pressure

Line location

Soil moisture

Type of cover

Wind conditions



High vs. low

Maps, pipe locator

Wet, dry, frost

Paved vs. grass

Calm vs. windy



Factors To Consider When Conducting The Survey
surface sampling indications must be confirmed
Surface Sampling Indications Must Be Confirmed
  • No matter the degree of sophistication, all surface sample indications must be confirmed and classified with CGI and probe bar.
audits of leak surveys
Audits of Leak Surveys
  • Audits of the leak surveys should be performed to verify that the leaks are being detected.
  • Audits should also include the comparison of the leaks generated by the public vs. leaks detected by the leakage detection survey.
  • It is critical that the survey is detecting all hazardous leaks as well as those of economic importance.
  • Annual checks of transmission line Class Areas, Public Buildings/Critical Areas and Survey Types i.e. mobile vs. portable should be conducted and updated as necessary.
gptc guidelines leak classification
GPTC GuidelinesLeak Classification
  • The following establishes a criteria by which leakage indications of flammable gas can be graded and controlled. When evaluating any gas leak indication, the initial step is to determine the perimeter of the leak area. When this perimeter extends to a building wall, the investigation should continue into the building.
gptc guidelines grade 1 definition
GPTC GuidelinesGrade 1 Definition
  • A leak that represents and existing or probable hazard to persons or property, and requires immediate repair or continuous action until the conditions are no longer hazardous.




30% Gas @ Foundation Wall

Concrete Sidewalk

90% Gas @ Curb

8” CI UP




20% Gas In Telephone Manhole


6” Steel UP

gptc guidelines grade 2 definition
GPTC GuidelinesGrade 2 Definition
  • A leak that is recognized as being non-hazardous at the time of detection, but justifies scheduled repair based on probable future hazard.
  • GPTC rechecked every 6 months.
gptc guidelines grade 3 definition
GPTC GuidelinesGrade 3 Definition
  • A leak that is non-hazardous at the time of detection and can be reasonably expected to remain non-hazardous.
  • GPTC rechecked once each year.

Is not an exact science.It is a developed skill which is learned and perfected through your mistakes and your successes.

Centering = Where is the gas?
  • Pinpointing = Where is the leak?
  • The leakmustbe centeredbefore it is pinpointed
consistency success same
Consistency = SuccessSAME
  • Exact location of main, services etc.
  • SAME size of test hole (aeration is the key)
  • SAME depth of test hole (must be consistent)
  • SAME location of test holes (same side of main)
  • SAME instrument use (consistency in testing)

60% Gas





8” Steel UP CWP









Maple Street

Service Line

15% Gas

using the soil purger in the pinpointing process
Using The Soil Purger In The Pinpointing Process
  • Purge from a hole where you know that the leak is not
  • Plug holes near purge point
  • Dense soil or moisture – time the purge/purge each hole
  • Use it only when all other methods have failed
audits of pinpointing repair
Audits of Pinpointing & Repair
  • Grade 1 leaks-you must be absolutely sure that the conditions that got you there are no longer present when you leave.
  • Auditing hit to miss ratios i.e. “dry holes”.
  • Are the leaks being pinpointed by a dedicated pinpointing crew or are they being pinpointed by the crew making the repair?
  • Are rechecks of repairs being performed?
the key is listening
The Key Is Listening
  • Not every call is a gas emergency
  • Listen to the customer and ask questions in order to gather the information needed
is it static or dynamic
Where is the odor?

How long smelled?

How strong is the odor?

Can you hear anything?

Anyone moved recently?

Any plumbing done?

Any construction in area?

Is It Static Or Dynamic?

= At gas range vs.throughout

= For a week vs. just noticed it

= Barely smell vs. making me sick

= No vs. hissing sound

= No vs. apartment next door moved

= No vs. husband just installed range

= No vs. backhoe digging out front

auditing call center programs
Auditing Call Center Programs
  • Are all odor complaints being dispatched immediately?
  • Are they being dispatched to the proper personnel?
  • Are pertinent times i.e. call received, dispatched, arrival, makesafe being recorded and tracked?
  • Is proper information being forwarded to the First Responder?
remember the job is not completed
Remember:The Job Is Not Completed
  • Until all paperwork/documentation is completed:
    • Neatly
    • Thoroughly
    • Accurately
  • You may do everything right, but you may be judged by what is or is not documented
Our main job is not

finding & fixing leaks

Our main job is

public safety