July 05–Residents in southwestern New Bern may notice a flame and a strange whistling sound through July 13, but Piedmont Natural Gas is saying not to be alarmed. It’s all just part of what it calls a routine pipeline inspection.
The inspection is scheduled to start Friday near 699 Staten Road, which is located between the U.S. 17 bypass and U.S. 17 business, according to a release from the company. The inspection is expected to continue through July 13, depending on weather.
The inspection involves a process the company calls “flaring” in which excess natural gas used to propel a device through the pipeline as part of the inspection process is released and burned off, according to the release. The process produces a flame that can be seen from a distance as well as a loud noise and possibly a whistling sound. Nearby residents may also smell natural gas.
A flare stack, which is a large vertical pipe, will be used in the process of the inspection. Piedmont Natural Gas reports that the process will be monitored, and that area fire departments and law enforcement have been notified about the pending test. Piedmont Natural Gas personnel and licensed contractors will be doing the work, and local fire departments may also be present during the inspection, according to the release.
The inspection is part of Federal Department of Transportation regulations that require regular pipeline inspections and assessment for safety purposes, according to the release.
Piedmont Natural Gas has more than 1 million residential, commercial and industrial customers as well as power plans in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, according to a release. It is a subsidiary of Duke Energy.
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