State inspection finds nearly three dozen violations in Drakesboro’s natural gas system

Updated: Feb. 28, 2019 at 6:26 PM CST
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DRAKESBORO, KY (WFIE) - In Muhlenberg County, state inspectors found nearly three dozen violations with Drakesboro’s natural gas system.

14 New is learning city leaders were given two options.

The warning came Thursday morning to either find a qualified third-party operator or shutdown and the deadline is Friday.

A list of 35 violations were revealed in Drakesboro, after the Kentucky Public Service Commission opened an investigation related to the city’s natural gas safety standards.

PSC is giving Drakesboro until the close of business Friday to take care of the situation.

“We’ve been trying to get funding for the present contractor, because we’re a small city, it’s a problem,” newly-elected Mayor Mike Jones said.

The PSC investigation, which took place February 18-21st, cited violations such as allowing unqualified people, possible jail inmates to operate the system.

“Inmates will not check meters, gas meters, water meters, that will not happen. I think that’s something that never should have happened in the past. I can’t fix what they’ve done. I can just assure the public it won’t happen under my administration,” Jones added.

Other violations include improper repairs to a damaged gas main, and that’s not all.

“One of the things we found was the system was being operated without any odorant being introduced into the gas. Natural gas by itself doesn’t have a detectable odor. You have to put a chemical in the gas so if there’s a leak, you can detect it by the odor,” Andrew MeInykovych with PSC explained by phone.

If Drakesboro is found to have committed all the violations cited, it could be responsible for more than $7 million dollars in fines.

A third party has been operating the system in recent weeks, but Drakesboro doesn’t have a contract with them for continued services.

PSC also ordered City leaders to be at a hearing in Frankfort on March 8.

The state entity only regulates the safety component.

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