Atmos Energy responded to an underground gas leak on Feb. 20 at 507 River Bend in Georgetown. The Georgetown Fire Department and Atmos Energy issued a precautionary evacuation of several residences and businesses in the River Bend area as a result of the initial leak, which was repaired. Natural gas service was shut off to those customers while Atmos Energy technicians worked as quickly as possible to repair the leak and ensure the area’s safety.
This area contains unique soil conditions that slow the ventilation of gas. The accumulation of “residual gas” at unsafe levels requires evacuation of the area for safety reasons. Currently, 61 businesses and 26 residences in the vicinity of Williams Drive and River Bend have been evacuated (see map). Atmos Energy is using equipment to ventilate the soil and remove natural gas trapped under the ground.
To help alleviate the inconvenience to residents and businesses, hotel accommodations and meals are being offered to affected residents. Affected Georgetown residents and businesses can contact Atmos Energy using the dedicated customer service line at 888-992-8667. Representatives are also available from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Express, 431 N. Interstate 35, to speak directly with affected residents and business owners.
Atmos Energy is providing 24-hour security in the area to further ensure the safety of evacuated homes and businesses.
Atmos Energy has surveyed the affected area with mobile leak detection mounted on cars and performed foot patrols with leak detection equipment and will continue system monitoring until the evacuations are lifted.
If hazardous leaks are detected, Atmos Energy is taking the necessary steps to eliminate the hazard and ensure the area is safe. Additionally, the company proactively identified additional pipe segments for replacement and those projects are currently underway.
This area contains unique soil conditions that slow the ventilation of gas. The accumulation of “residual gas” at unsafe levels requires evacuation of the area for safety reasons.
Ventilating the soil
To assist with the ventilation of residual gas, vacuum units are being used to pull residual gas out of the ground. In addition, Atmos Energy excavation equipment is being utilized to dig ventilation holes to help dissipate the residual gas.
Atmos Energy will continue its pipe replacement projects and their work to make the area safe. For the safety of the community, evacuations will remain in place if gas is detected at unsafe levels. Homes and other buildings are being monitored daily by Atmos Energy. Residents and business owners will be permitted to return when it is safe to do so. Updates will be provided and a timeframe for lifting evacuations when possible.