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January 5, 2014

CSA, Peoples strike deal

Gas supplier will pay $23,000 toward the replacement of line

JOHNSTOWN — The Cambria Somerset Authority has hammered out a deal with an area utility company on costs associated with a damaged Franklin Hill water line.

Through a deal accepted by the CSA’s board Thursday, Peoples Natural Gas will pay $23,000 toward replacement costs for 80 feet of cast iron line the board has maintained was corroded and destroyed by “electrolysis” from a Peoples line connected to it.

“We feel pretty good about the deal,” CSA Chairman Jim Greco said, noting the amount will pay for nearly half of the amount the board paid to replace the line.

“We’re talking about an old water line ... and it’s hard to prove every leak was due to corrosion.”

The line, spanning from Peggy’s Run to Hudson Street, has been back in service for months and is viewed by the CSA as a potentially significant supplier to city industrial sites.

For years, Gautier Steel has been eyeing the addition of a titanium mill at its Johnstown site, and the line would be needed in the production process.

Peoples Natural Gas spokesman Barry Kukovich said the company acknowledges there was “a rare possibility” electrolysis could have caused the pipe to break – however uncommon.

“It would have to have meant that the electric current running through our anodized lines was so great that it jumped over their line,” he said, noting that increased water content in the soil could also have been to blame.

“In the end, it’s hard to say. You never know.”

David Hurst covers the Cambria Somerset Authority for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at www.tribune-democrat.com

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