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Safety - Our Top Priority
Avista's Natural Gas System - Safety is our top priority

You may have read or heard recent national and local media stories about natural gas pipeline safety concerns. At Avista, our top priority is safety for the public and our employees. We'd like to share some important information with you about Avista's natural gas system.

The integrity of our system:

  • Avista does not have any of the cast iron or bare unprotected pipes in our natural gas system that were highlighted in a recent USA Today article.
  • Most of Avista's natural gas pipe was installed in or after the 1950's. It is a much newer system than in other parts of the country.
  • Avista uses plastic and steel distribution piping that is less susceptible to leaks compared to unprotected bare steel and cast iron pipes.
  • All of Avista's underground natural gas pipelines are periodically walked in a leak survey. Our inspectors search for leaks using highly sensitive equipment that has the ability to detect natural gas leaks at levels far below those that are a safety concern or that you can smell. If any leaks are found, they are documented and any necessary repairs are made.
  • Avista adds an odorant to natural gas that is four-times the level set in the Federal Pipeline Safety Regulations. The odorant, which smells like rotten eggs, allows for leaks to be detected far below hazardous levels. If you think you detect a leak, please leave the area and contact Avista immediately at (800) 227-9187.
  • Avista takes immediate action to fix all hazardous leaks and repairs non-hazardous leaks expeditiously.

Investing in maintaining our system:

  • Along with many other utilities across the country, Avista first began installing natural gas plastic polyethylene pipes during the late 1960's. Some of this plastic pipe is approaching the end of its service life, including early vintages of Dupont Aldyl-A. Avista started to proactively replace its early vintage Aldyl-A pipe in 2012 and continues to do so through a prioritized systematic approach.
  • The Natural Gas Pipeline Replacement Program is a result of Avista's commitment to maintain a safe and reliable natural gas pipeline system. Avista will replace approximately 730 miles of Aldyl-A natural gas pipe, installed prior to 1987. We will also perform preventative maintenance on 16,000 service taps over the next 20 years in Washington, Idaho and Oregon.
  • Avista is prioritizing this replacement work based on specific criteria such as age of pipe, soil conditions and population density. Remember, Avista performs regular leak surveys on its entire natural gas pipeline, including Aldyl-A pipe.
  • Manufacturing processes have improved over time. While Aldyl-A pipe may be more prone to cracking than plastic pipe manufactured today, it is not of concern if it was installed properly, and has not been distributed since installation.
  • Avista is investing approximately $16 million per year for the next 20 years in our natural gas replacement program. Find out what neighborhoods we're completing in 2016.

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