Enhancing Gas Customer Safety

GTI is developing technologies to improve overall safety by reducing risk to people and property and enhancing reliability and resiliency of natural gas systems.

Residential methane detectors (RMDs)

Residential methane detectors (RMDs) augment existing safety programs and their adoption adds another layer of protection for the detection of leaks. GTI conducted a national study to evaluate the performance of methane detectors in a variety of residential settings. Based on successful outcomes, researchers are advocating reduction of the alarm limit to 10% lower explosive limit (LEL) of methane and working toward listing with the International Code Council Evaluation Services. Ongoing efforts include stakeholder education and outreach to build technology awareness and advance the product with guidance on optimal detector placement.

 

Integrated Intelligent Safety System (IISS)

The Integrated Intelligent Safety System (IISS) under development from Lorax will help to mitigate the risk of gas leaks due to third-party damage on commercial, multi-family, and small industrial service lines. The IISS works similarly to an excess flow valve, but has a lower shut-off threshold. Its versatility is capable of serving variable gas loads, avoiding false closures yet recognizing and reacting to smaller but significant downstream leaks. Operations Technology Development (OTD) is providing support to this project.

 

Itron-100T-GGRD remote shutoff valve with methane sensor and water sensor for storm hardening

In a testing program for the Itron-100T-GGRD valve with water sensor for storm hardening, a methane sensor—in addition to a storm-hardening water/flood sensor—is being integrated with a remote shutoff valve. This enhances overall gas system safety by providing gas operators with advanced indication of an abnormal operating condition resulting in a gas release inside a building. If methane is detected in a building, the service may be isolated in advance of first responders. For leaks in the street resulting from a damaged distribution main and migration into buildings, the sensor would allow for advanced monitoring of a potential broader system problem.

With OTD funding, research is being conducted to validate the performance of an integrated gas safety system, develop “fit for purpose” utility utilization guidelines and system specifications, and perform laboratory evaluations and field testing. A methane sensor manufactured by Heath Consultants Incorporated is being evaluated and integrated, in addition to the storm-hardening water/flood sensor, with the Itron-100TGGRD remote shutoff valve.

 

Sewer system cleanout safeguard device

The sewer system cleanout safeguard project is focused on the development and deployment of a cross bore safety device that allows sewer system clearing operations to occur with the ability to seal various-sized sewer cleanout openings. In the event a natural gas line (inadvertently installed in a sewer) is damaged, the safeguard device will minimize or eliminate blowing gas into the house through the sewer clean out. It features a split-cap design that attaches around the cleanout rod and threads into the cleanout opening. In Phase 2 of the project, a prototype that is capable of addressing the various sized openings (other than four-inch) and openings with damaged threads is being developed.

The technology is available for licensing through OTD. Project representatives are negotiating with a sewer and drain-cleaning service provider to commercialize the product.

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