Update: 12:33 a.m. Friday - New Jersey Natural Gas has confirmed that as of Thursday evening, the valves were completely shut and the lines were vented. Pressure was down to 0psi and water intrusion was expected to begin. The company said it would continue to assess the situation.
New Jersey Natural Gas said it has repaired a gas leak in Brick Township’s Curtis Point neighborhood.
There were widespread reports of gas leaks in the barrier island neighborhood yesterday.
The company said the “flare up” was made safe at about 4:30 a.m. Thursday.
The company also said it would cut off gas service to the entire Barnegat Peninsula south of Point Pleasant Beach Thursday. The company started the process early in the afternoon and it will take about two hours for all of the valves to be manually closed. After that, a venting process will take several more hours.
NJNG said it expects water to infiltrate its pipes once natural gas pressure is no longer flowing through them. This will damage the pipes and require the infrastructure to be rebuilt before service to the barrier island can be restored.
“Our crews did everything we could to save the system,” said Chief Operating Officer Kathleen T. Ellis. “We were only able to gain access to some of the most damaged areas within the last 24 hours, and the devastation is nothing that could be seen from the air. It is beyond imagination. The only safe thing to do is shut down the system.”
The same situation will apply to NJNG's gas lines on Long Beach Island, which are also being switched off.
The company said the situation is similar to what gas companies in the Gulf region went through following Hurricane Katrina.
According to Brick Police Sgt. Keith Reinhard, two local SWAT teams that gained access to the barrier island sections of town yesterday noted several fires being fed by natural gas lines.