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East Harlem Explosion: Gas System Facts

Con Edison is working closely with federal, state and local agencies on the investigation into yesterday's buildings explosion and collapse in East Harlem. We are also in contact with the Red Cross and many city agencies to lend any assistance we can to the affected residents and families.

Below are some facts on the Con Edison gas system:

  • Approximately 4,300 miles of gas mains in Manhattan, the Bronx, parts of Queens and Westchester County. 1,707 miles - plastic (39.2%) 1,110 miles - cast iron (25.5%) 1,099 miles - unprotected steel (25.3%) 368 miles - protected steel (8.5%) and 67 miles - wrought iron (1.5%).
  • We inspect the entire system for leaks with mobile gas detection vehicles a minimum of once a year.
  • The most recent mobile survey on Park Avenue between 116th and 117th Streets was on February 28th and found no leaks on the block.
  • Con Edison is replacing an average of 65 miles of gas mains each year, for the next three years, at a cost of $110 million per year.
  • Con Edison spends a total of about $500 million per year maintaining and upgrading its natural gas infrastructure.
  • Con Edison responds immediately to every call about a gas odor. The company will call the Fire Department to the scene under various circumstances, including when multiple calls come from the same location, a customer reports both a gas odor and electrical problems or responding crews detect highly flammable or explosive levels of gas in the area.
  • During the past 5 years, Con Edison received an annual average of more than 31,000 leak calls, with 23,000 concerning suspected inside leaks and 8,000 outside (street) leaks. No leaks were found with about 40 percent of the calls.
  • Con Edison responded to 31,000 calls about gas odors in 2013, with an average response time of 22 minutes.
  • We conducted a three-year review of gas odor complaints on Park Avenue between 116th and 117th Streets. There was one gas odor complaint at 1644 Park Avenue on May 17th, 2013. It involved problems on the customer's equipment. Repairs were made by their contractor and Con Edison reconnected the line on July 3, 2013. On July 22, 2010, a gas leak was reported on the west side of the street, also customer equipment involving a faulty valve on a stove.
  • We also conducted a preliminary 10-year review of gas main work on that street. In December 28, 2011, we replaced 69 feet of gas main in connection with a customer's installation of a new water service line. In July, 2004, we made a routine (coupling) repair to the gas main to seal a gas leak on that block.

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