CLINTON, Ill. (WCIA) — City officials in Clinton are expressing frustration after their city experienced a spike in gas leaks this year.
Official said they’ve had more than a dozen this year, and two were severe enough to warrant evacuations, including one in February. This fall saw three different leaks, including two in the month of November alone.
Steve Lobb, a member of the city’s Public Works Department, placed the blame on the people working around the gas mains.
“They weren’t necessarily working as safely as they should have been,” he said. “That’s not something we’re ok with and it’s not something we allow.”
Officials said they’re trying their best to prevent these problems from happening by suspending contractors who aren’t following digging laws.
“There are our underground laws that they have to follow. I believe it’s the Underground Facilities Damage Prevention Act,” Lobb said. “It’s real clear. It’s called Julie’s Law.”
City Administrator Taylor Baxter said they’re suspending companies that continuously hit the gas line.
“We’ve had multiple meetings with these companies of ‘this is not acceptable,'” he said. “‘We’re not going to allow this in Clinton and if it does continue, we’re going to continue to pull the people that are working for you.'”
Different parts of town have been affected by the gas leaks, causing worry in the community.
“We have had two major ones that have had mass evacuations,” Baxter said. “Even just yesterday, we had another one that was minor, but we’ve had some out near the schools because it was mislocated.”
Baxter said they’re doing everything they can to limit the gas leaks to keep people safe.
“We’re trying to be proactive and have meetings and talking with leadership from companies,” he said. “But there’s a lot of times where we’re just having to be reactive because we just can’t stay up with all of it.”
Baxter added that right now, Clinton has three companies working underground with two more possibly on the way. Construction around the gas mains are set to wrap up next year.