by Rachel Hunter
Village of Gouverneur Mayor Ron McDougall arrived at the Town of Gouverneur Council’s July 9 meeting to talk about the natural gas line breach that occurred by Gouverneur Hospital, 77 W. Barney St., Gouverneur on Tuesday, July 2.
A subcontractor working for JL Excavation LLC punctured a six-inch gas main with a two-inch drill that was reportedly coming from the other side of the road underground. The work was being done as part of the Village of Gouverneur’s Water Improvement Project.
“They were trying to hook up, get into the hospital. That’s what that was about,” Mayor McDougall said. “Very unfortunate. I can only imagine the legal quagmire this is going to cause.”
A large six-inch gas main was struck and punctured by a two-inch drill coming from the other side of the road underground. Crews evacuated houses in the area of concern and held everyone in the hospital until it was deemed safe. Enbridge crews worked to make a temporary bypass on scene as the gas could not be shut off. After six hours and 20 minutes the gas was contained to the bypass line. Gouverneur Fire crews and Enbridge were on scene for 11 hours.
“The good news is nobody got hurt,” Mayor McDougall said. “It was a tremendous inconvenience to the community, roadblocks, business into the hospital they reopened to take patients at 7 o’clock that night… A lot of cooperation with the police, DPW, fire department, rescue squad, DOT, probably left some people out… and of course, St. Lawrence Gas put a plan together. You know they have a situation when that happens.
“As far as the gas lines, it is one of the largest lines they have had, you know, fracture I’m told in decade or two. But as far as loss, the greatest loss since they have been in business anywhere in the North Country – the greatest loss in gas, a product as they call it. There’s lots of business people in here. That means money – product, loss, gone.
“There will be ramifications, but nobody got hurt. We got a lot of cooperation. We were mighty glad to get that pipeline in and get the bypass in, which was about 6:30 at night on July 2. So anyways, it could have been much worse. I appreciated the cooperation with all involved.”
Gouverneur Fire Department was dispatched to scene at 12:32 p.m. on July 2. They extend gratitude to the Gouverneur Police Department for their help in securing the area and helping with traffic control, the Gouverneur Rescue Squad for standing by at the scene, the Gouverneur Hospital staff for understanding the severity of the incident and working with the GFD crew to make sure everyone in the hospital was safe, Village of Gouverneur DPW, and the firefighters at the Richville Fire Department and Oxbow Fire department for covering the GFD station while they were on the scene.
No further comments were made at the town board meeting.
The next Village of Gouverneur Board of Trustees meeting is to be held on Tuesday, July 16, 7 p.m., in the municipal courtroom.
The next meeting of the Town of Gouverneur Council is to be held on Tuesday, August 13 at 6 p.m. in the town offices building.