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Consolidated Edison's Midland Avenue Work Reveals Problem in Detecting Natural Gas Odor PDF Print Email


By Carol Bartold, Senior Reporter     

Jul. 18, 2018: A recent development in Consolidated Edison's effort to upgrade and repair aging gas mains along Midland Avenue from Winter Hill Road in Tuckahoe to Library Lane in Bronxville has raised concern among village residents who live in the Midland Avenue area.

The utility has indicated that a section of new 16-inch steel pipes, which will ultimately replace all 12-inch cast iron pipes currently in place, may not have been properly cleaned and scoured before installation. As a result, Consolidated Edison determined that natural gas flowing to residences already connected to the new main does not contain sufficient mercaptan, the chemical that lends a sulfuric odor to natural gas and allows detection of gas leaks.

According to Bob McGee, Consolidated Edison spokesperson, a section of the newly installed pipes absorbed enough mercaptan to render the gas flowing through them odorless. He stated that on June 30, the utility began a procedure, known as purging, that will allow the utility to achieve the level of mercaptan needed in the natural gas to ensure safety. Purging involves forcing an increased flow of gas through the pipes to eliminate the odorless gas and pump in a new supply while adding mercaptan to that new supply until the level needed to make the gas detectable is achieved. The natural gas eliminated by purging is continuously released into the atmosphere.


Resident Gretchen Pingel reported that the ongoing process has subjected the neighborhood to increased noise and disruption, not only from the purging itself but also from work crews and idling vehicles being onsite day and night. "It is amazingly inefficient, expensive, and wasteful," she said.

McGee stated that, while Consolidated Edison is expediting the work, there is no estimated completion date. "If there were a different way to do this, resulting in greater savings, we'd do it," he said. "What we're doing is state of the art in these regards." He cited the decreased flow of natural gas due to summer's lower demand as one factor that made purging necessary to solve the mercaptan problem.

Work on the overall project began in January at Winter Hill Road and has proceeded into Bronxville, resulting in ongoing construction work on Midland Avenue. McGee noted that initial work yielded proper mercaptan levels but that readings on the section currently undergoing purging revealed a problem. "We need to be sure the mercaptan takes hold," he said.

Bronxville Village Administrator Jim Palmer has indicated his insistence that Consolidated Edison properly prime all steel piping to be used for the next section of work so that purging can be avoided. "I will not have them start installation of the next section of 16-inch pipe until the first section can be closed up and purging is complete," he said. "They will be better prepared for the next section of pipe."

Pictured here:  Midland Avenue in Bronxville during Con Ed's upgrading and repairing of aging gas mains.

Photos by A. Warner


Next MHTB Issue September 5; New Photo Each Week in August; Bronxville Life & Style Emails to Continue in August

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By Staff      Aug. 15, 2018:  Please note that MyhometownBronxville will not be publishing new articles in August. We will, however, be publishing a new summer photo every week and...

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Bronxville Overview

Bronxville Overview

Bronxville is a quaint village (one square mile) located just 16 miles north of midtown Manhattan (roughly 30 minutes on the train) and has a population of approximately 6,500. It is known as a premier community with an excellent public school (K-12) and easy access to Manhattan. Bronxville offers many amenities including an attractive business district, a hospital (Lawrence Hospital), public paddle and tennis courts, fine dining at local restaurants, two private country clubs and a community library.

While the earliest settlers of Bronxville date back to the first half of the 18th century, the history of the modern suburb of Bronxville began in 1890 when William Van Duzer Lawrence purchased a farm and commissioned the architect, William A. Bates, to design a planned community of houses for well-known artists and professionals that became a thriving art colony. This community, now called Lawrence Park, is listed on the National register of Historic Places and many of the homes still have artists’ studios. A neighborhood association within Lawrence Park called “The Hilltop Association” keeps this heritage alive with art shows and other events for neighbors.

Bronxville offers many charming neighborhoods as well as a variety of living options for residents including single family homes, town houses, cooperatives and condominiums. One of the chief benefits of living in “the village” is that your children can attend the Bronxville School.

The Bronxville postal zone (10708, known as “Bronxville PO”) includes the village of Bronxville as well as the Chester Heights section of Eastchester, parts of Tuckahoe and the Lawrence Park West, Cedar Knolls, Armour Villa and Longvale sections of Yonkers. Many of these areas have their own distinct character. For instance, the Armour Villa section has many historic homes and even has its own newsletter called “The Villa Voice” which reports on neighborhood news.

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