Are gas leaks a problem in Columbus? - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Are gas leaks a problem in Columbus?

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

After the deadly explosion that turned a building into debris in New York, some Chattahoochee Valley residents are now wondering if the buildings in Columbus are safe.

Greg Coates, the city's Director of Inspections and Code, said Columbus checks all buildings at least once a year to make sure the pipes are working properly.

"We do have quite a few older buildings in Columbus," Coates said. "The older buildings we have here, we encourage people who own them to keep a watchful eye."

Coates explained that the city checks the pipes in commercial and residential buildings to make sure they are functioning correctly and safely.

"I think people often underestimate what gas leaks can do, big or small," Coates said. "Gas itself is an ignitable source. I would check at least once a year, or once a month, to make certain that there are no leaks coming out from your pipes."

Coates said home owners and building managers need to watch out for certain things when checking the pipes.

"One sign you really need to look out for is odor," Coates said. "You can smell it. You also need to look out for some carbon build up around them."

People need to have licensed inspectors check and install pipes. All pipes should have some overpressure protection devices installed to prevent explosions, and other similar accidents.

"Pipes should be installed with devices that have some type of automated shutoff devices," Coates said. "It's important when you install your pipes, you add those in. It tests for defects as well as leaks. Many accidents can be prevented by installing proper devices and checking your pipes at least once a year."

Coates said the pipes that people install today are different from pipes that were used years ago. However, all pipes now have to meet the new codes know as 2012 International Fuel Gas Code. The city follows the guideline to make sure all buildings are following proper procedure to avoid explosions or similar accidents.

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