The suspected gas leak at the intersection of 44th Street and 6th Ave. South in Avondale has been fixed, according to a representative with the Alabama Gas Corporation.
Aaron Schmidt, manager of communications for Alagasco, said Friday that he had received confirmation that the situation, which Weld reported on Wednesday, had been fixed at 4 p.m. on Thursday.
Schmidt said that the leak was identified earlier this year but was not deemed to be a danger to the neighborhood. Alagasco periodically runs leak surveys in which repairs are placed on a list according to their priority listing. Sometimes, leaks can get pushed down that list, Schmidt explained.
Residents had complained to Alagasco about the smell of gas in the area for years. As for how it was determined the leak needed to be fixed, Schmidt said, “I can’t speak to how they schedule their repair process. They may have scheduled it when the technician first identified it back in the summer. It may have been moved down the line based on priority.”
Someone who smells gas, Schmidt explained, should leave the house immediately and make the call to report it outside. “We go out there to check and if we find there is a leak, the technicians grade the leaks, from minor to immediate repair,” Schmidt said.
As for the leak in Avondale, Schmidt said that since it was initially placed low on the priorities list, “other things can bump it off.” For instance, a line being broken or other more serious leaks can delay a repair for a minor leak. “Every time that leak was scheduled to be fixed, the crew would have to move that down to respond to the other situations first,” Schmidt continued.
While the repair process for minor gas leaks can take some time, Alagasco continues to monitor leaks like the one in Avondale, he said. “At certain points along the way, that leak was being monitored to make sure it’s still in the minor leak category.”
In 2014, Alagasco conducted a leak survey and found one in the Avondale area which was repaired in August, Schmidt said.
Steve Brown, Avondale resident and community activist, said he isn’t sure the real problem was addressed on Thursday. “They’ve done this before. I’m just highly skeptical that this didn’t fix the problem,” Brown said, adding that he is out of town currently and that he wouldn’t be surprised if he still smelled gas when he returned home.
“If any customers in that area smell gas, we want them to call Alagasco immediately,” Schmidt said. “Again, we will respond each and every time to investigate the situation.”