Gas Leak Repaired

A National Fuel Gas operations crew has fixed the Franklinville gas leak that was reported last week and went viral in a YouTube video shared many times on Facebook. The leak in the Boyce Hill Road State Forest was fixed on Friday. Crews were checking for other area leaks on Monday and Tuesday. Photo was taken on Phillips Road near Bryant Hill Road.

FRANKLINVILLE — The natural gas leak discovered last week by deer hunters in a state forest in Franklinville and widely viewed on YouTube has been repaired.

A National Fuel Gas spokesman said Tuesday that the leak, which was videotaped and posted on YouTube and Facebook, was fixed on Friday by a gas company operations crew. A new section of pipe was installed where the leaks were found.

National Fuel Gas crews were out Monday and Tuesday to check for other possible leaks, said spokesman Karen Merkel.

The leak was along a natural gas distribution line through part of Boyce Hill State Forest off Bryant Hill and Phillips roads in the town of Franklinville.

“It’s out in the middle of nowhere,” said Merkel of the leaks.

National Fuel Gas received a large number of calls from people who saw the video posted by Ryan Weatherley last week either on YouTube or Facebook, Merkel said.

The leak shown in the Nov. 30 video, which is classified as a level 3 leak, has been monitored by the gas company’s operations unit for more than a year, according to Merkel.

A level 3 leak is less dangerous than either a level 1 or 2 leak, which are addressed quickly and under emergency situations. Operations crews went to the site of the leaks to measure them on Thursday and found they had not worsened, according to Merkel.

The Times Herald was alerted to the video on Friday by a Pittsburgh resident who viewed the video while visiting in Colorado. He was concerned when the man who made the video said the company didn’t plan to fix it for two months.

The video showed bubbles in puddles along the natural gas right of way. The man making the video said it was gas bubbling up through the water and showed a nearby sign stating it was a National Fuel Gas pipeline and listing a number to report any leaks.

Merkel said due to the number of calls the company was receiving because of the YouTube video, the decision had been made to fix the leak on Friday.

“We continue to get calls on that (video),” she said Tuesday, but the calls are decreasing.”

Weatherly, the man who made the video and contacted National Fuel Gas about the leak, emailed the Times Herald on Tuesday. He said he looked at the repairs and thought there were still some leaks, but that hay was spread over the area crews had excavated on Friday.

A gas company operations crew with a four-wheel-drive, all-terrain vehicle and small excavator were seen on the pipeline right of way Tuesday afternoon.

(Contact reporter Rick Miller at rmiller@olean

timesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)

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