NewsLocal NewsInvestigations

Actions

SW Gas: Leak patrol discovered East Valley Driscopipe issue

Posted at 7:44 PM, Sep 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-16 22:44:17-04

TEMPE — Southwest Gas leak patrols detected an issue with a Driscpopipe 8000 stub pipe in a Tempe neighborhood this week near Priest Drive and Warner Road.

The leak was found in the Sierra Tempe neighborhood. That's less than three miles from the Chandler shopping center that exploded at Ray and Rural roads just over a year ago. The Tempe leak was in the same type of pipe that leaked and caused the explosion.

RELATED: Recovery and rebuilding after Chandler gas explosion

Southwest Gas crews spent days in the Tempe neighborhood digging holes, inspecting and making repairs. Dave Wissenbach lives a block away. He noticed all the utility trucks went over to check out what was going on.

"I saw the digging and they were working in a hole just like they are back here with the white tent and several men in the hole," Wissenbach said.

He wondered if this was another Driscopipe 8000 leak so close to home.

"I was aware that there were problems with natural gas from your previous reporting," Wissenbach told ABC15 Investigator Melissa Blasius.

RELATED: Map shows clusters of past Driscopipe gas leaks in Arizona

The ABC15 Investigators have been telling you for years how Driscopipe 8000 can prematurely degrade in the hottest parts of the desert southwest. With about 200 documented degradation pipe leaks since 1999, reports to regulators show most of the leaks occurred in Arizona.

Wissenbach rides his bike down the street that had the gas leak almost every day, and he didn't smell natural gas. He's glad the leak patrol detected it.

"Waiting for us to report it probably wouldn't have caught it," Wissenbach said.

After fixing the leak, Southwest Gas crews returned to the neighborhood Friday to inspect all pipes in the area to make sure they are operating properly.

Southwest Gas officials say they have been doing more frequent patrols as well as replacing thousands of inactive service lines and stubs made out of Driscopipe 8000 that they say are the most susceptible to future leaks.

Got a news tip? Email ABC15 Investigator Melissa Blasius at Melissa.Blasius@abc15.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.