At approximately noon Thursday, a subcontractor working for O&R struck a gas main on Washington Ave. in Pearl River.
The same contractor, Premier Utility Services, also hit a gas line earlier this month in Pearl River, one of two incidents on consecutive days.
Add this to the gas line explosion in Nyack June 21 and the incident on Miller road in Valley Cottage July 6; now, Rockland residents are wondering if there have been more accidents with gas lines involving O&R employees or subcontractors as of late.
"Not any more than usual," Orange & Rockland spokesman Mike Donovan said. "We do have a new reporting mechanism. Any time there is an issue like that, we call the local fire department. In the past, they might have gone unnoticed, but now they show up on the scanner."
The procedure requires excavators digging into underground gas facilities to immediately notify the local fire department of any incident. That means minor incidents, such as this one on Ann St. in Pearl River July 12, draw more attention than they would have in the past.
"A fair number of these are service lines between the building and the gas main in the street. They effect one customer," Donovan said. "They were not reported before."
Donovan said there is also increased scrutiny on subcontractors by O&R inspectors.
"It is fair to say inspectors are bearing down on contractors as result of the dig-ins," Donovan said.
Donovan pointed out that there is simply more construction work going on in the summer and those numbers have gone up this summer from last.
"Historically, the summer months are the busiest time of year for construction activity," Donovan said. "And, the rebounding economy has generated much more construction activity this year than last. For example, O&R processed 10,989 requests for markouts to map its underground and electric facilities for construction jobs last summer. This summer, 12,463 requests have been processed."
Donovan stressed the importance of excavators using the 811 one-call system to locate all underground pipes and wires before beginning any projects.
"O&R urges its customers to make sure they're clear of all underground utility lines running through their property before they or their contractors break ground for a home addition, shed, fence or other project that requires excavating, drilling or digging with power tools."
They can call 811 to find out the location of all utility wires and pipes surrounding their location. For more information about the 811 One-Call Notification system, go to www.call811.com.
To report a damaged natural gas line, call O&R's gas emergency hotline at 1-800-533-5325.