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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Washington Gas Is Still in Hot Water with Some

In case you have missed hearing about the saga of the consistently water-logged gas lines affecting the winter comfort and safety of some in Shaw, read up on it here. Earlier this month on the Shaw neighborhood Yahoo! Group, Councilmember Jack Evans apprised us that Washington Gas is indeed taking steps to address the problem; unfortunately their plan leaves some, well, in the cold. According to Mr. Evans's announcement, it seems that the 1500 blocks of 8th and 9th and the 800 block of Q will not receive new lines despite issues with water in the lines.

Here's Drew's take:
For those still unaware of the natural gas problem in Shaw, it can be summed up in one word: water. While we normally think of water's destructive effects on our homes from leaky pipes, roofs, and foundations, or through nature's forces, like floods and hurricanes, it seems that water is wreaking havoc on furnaces, stoves, and hot water heaters of Shaw through an unlikely source... our natural gas lines.

My understanding is that I and similarly situated neighbors are beneficiaries of old, sagging gas lines that are prone to leaks. As a result, water gets in our gas lines and causes the gas pressure into our homes to rise and fall. This can necessitate costly repairs to furnaces, and frequently causes furnaces to cut off altogether. It also causes the flames in one's gas stove top to pulsate. Ultimately, a home's gas meter floods with water, cutting off all gas into the home (read: no heat, no hot water and no warm food--thank god for space heaters, electric blankets, microwaves, and charcoal grills).

So after getting some bad press, it seems that Washington Gas is going to fix the problem for some, but not all, in Shaw. Don't get me wrong--I'm pleased that a lot of neighbors are getting relief. But I want a better reason for why there won't be relief for everyone. Specifically, I wonder if the 1500 block of 9th was skipped because of the numerous vacant properties that do not constitute paying, vocal gas customers (six of Shiloh Baptist Church's properties are on 9th Street, as well as three of the Parks Service's vacant properties). Likewise, does Shiloh's blight at 8th and Q (2 vacant homes), and the long vacant (but fortunately about to commence reconstruction) lot at 9th and Q factor into the decision?
Drew created the above map illustrating where the gas line replacement is anticipated. For a detailed look at a .pdf of the map, click here.


Anonymous said...

One important note: Actually it's very important for people *not* to use charcoal grills inside. It raises serious risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. So if you're going to grill, put on a heavy coat and do it outside.

Anonymous said...

Completely and absolutely unacceptable...are we in a 3rd world country without basic services? And that Jack E would find this solution acceptable (in an election year)tells you what he thinks of his Shaw constituents...

Has the local media been updated on the situation? Maybe Washington Gas (and Shiloh and Michael Sendar) could use some more public pressure...

si said...

This stinks. Washington Gas's excuse for neglecting those blocks is "the gas lines are not easily accessable." really. Is it so much harder to dig up a street in shaw vs. a street in dupont? On Dec 21st, after hearing about this issue for about 6 weeks, I sent this to Mr. Ray:

Hi Ray,
a Dupont neighbor just came by my office and told me that Washington Gas is replacing her gas line right now because (and then i finished her sentence) she has water in her line. The problem was reported 1 week ago and the very nice workmen should be done in about 20 min.

This is 21st street between N & O.