Natural gas is a safe fuel
Natural gas has been used safely for many years. Utilities Kingston has been providing safe and reliable gas services since 1847, when it was originally founded as the Kingston Gas and Light Company.
Modern gas appliances and accessories are certified to high standards by the Canadian Standards Association, Underwriter Laboratories of Canada and similar organizations. They have built-in safety features, such as an automatic shut off valve that will stop the flow of gas to the appliance if the pilot light or burner goes out. Strict codes, which are updated on a regular basis, also apply to the installation of natural gas equipment. Contractors who install natural gas appliances must receive special training and be licensed by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA).
Utilities Kingston’s unique multi-utility model allows us to share resources and knowledge to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of all utility services. We’re committed to ensuring the safety and reliability of the City’s natural gas distribution system. The construction and maintenance programs employed at Utilities Kingston meet or exceed industry safety standards.
Utilities Kingston takes delivery of odourless natural gas at the City Gate gas regulating station in Glenburnie. At this point, mercaptan is added to the gas so you can smell it in the event of a gas leak.
From there, gas is brought into the Central City and distributed via pressure regulating stations and a series of pipelines that combine to form our gas distribution system.
The employees of Utilities Kingston are committed to ensuring the safety and integrity of our natural gas distribution system. The construction and maintenance programs employed at Utilities Kingston exceed government standards.
Safety programs include:
- Corrosion control to protect underground pipelines by applying external coatings, supplemented with cathodic protection – a technique that uses a sacrificial metal that will corrode instead.
- Annual gas leak survey for proactive leak detection. For this purpose, our gas service area is divided into six geographical areas. Area 1 (downtown) is tested annually, as are the two main gas feeds to our service area. Areas 2-5 are rotated on an annual basis. Within a five-year period, the service area is tested in its entirety.
- Inspection of all new gas services to ensure customer equipment and appliances have been installed by a TSSA certified fitter.
- Valve maintenance program so that valves are accessible and operable when needed to isolate a section of gas pipe.
The number of isolating valves in the system are considered carefully during design. This minimizes disruption to customers in the event that we need to shut off the gas flow.
Continual infrastructure upgrades to ensure the safety and reliability of the natural gas system include:
- Replacing corrosion-prone steel gas mains with more durable polyethylene mains. In addition to corrosion control benefits, polyethylene is easier to repair and squeeze off, and the valves do not require greasing.
- In 2007, we added a second feed line from the City Gate gas regulating station into the City of Kingston, providing security for feeding the City and added three more regulating stations on this new feed line, allowing stability in line pressure of the distribution system for the coldest times of the winter season.
- In 2013, updated City Gate by replacing older, outdated regulating and heating equipment that was nearing the end of it useful life, ensuring reliability at this critical regulating station as well as significant energy efficiency improvements.
From the design phase (where all methods and materials are specified to meet or exceed current industry standards) to construction, we ensure integrity of the system through close control and on-site monitoring. All pipelines and appurtenances are tested to strict tolerances before becoming an integral part of our system.