The settlement, from an Allentown row home explosion in February three years ago, required UGI Utilities, based in Reading, to improve it leak detection technology. The subsequent fire from the explosion killed five people, leveled eight home, and occurred even after UGI had a cold weather leak detection survey crew in the area the day before.
An additional clause from the $500,000 settlement with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) requires UGI to conduct a pilot program starting this winter for improved leak detection.
UGI unveiled a technology that can detect the dangerous methane gas in amounts as small as a tenth for every million particles, and uses infrared light to pinpoint exactly where the leak is escaping from.
The new and improved detection system, the first of its kind for Pennsylvania, is an upgrade over the the currently used flame-ionization technology; it detects smaller methane amounts and can not be triggered by other flammable gasses (reducing false results).
UGI selected a system based on methods developed by Sensit Technologies of Valparaiso, IN and the testing is conducted by technicians trained at Precision Pipeline Solutions in New Windsor, NY.