Crews search for source of gas leak after Downtown Pittsburgh water main break

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Equitable Gas crews continued today to search for a leak in a 20-inch main near the site of Thursday's water main break at Fort Pitt Boulevard and Wood Street in Downtown Pittsburgh.

A mild aroma of mercaptan, the additive to natural gas that gives it a distinctive odor, remained in the area of the water main excavation this morning. Crews slowly dug along the gas main below Fort Pitt Boulevard in search of the source of the smell.

They planned to continue digging until they find it, gas company spokesman Scott Waitlevertch said.

"We have a small odor here," he said. "We're not getting significant readings. We're checking (nearby) buildings to make sure everything's safe. It's very delicate digging with all the utilities underneath. Our goal is to find out where the odor's coming from and why."

As noon approached, crews were digging toward where the water main ruptured and getting higher gas readings, leading them to believe they were closing in on the location of the leak.

Mr. Waitlevertch said the company hopes to complete the work today but wouldn't know a timetable for sure until workers find the leak.

Crews will remain on the scene around the clock until they finish, he said.

Fort Pitt Boulevard remained closed from Smithfield to Market streets. Wood Street is closed from the Boulevard of the Allies to Fort Pitt Boulevard. Access to the Monongahela Wharf is blocked.

No customers were without gas service, Mr. Waitlevertch said.

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Jon Schmitz: or 412-263-1868.


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