Gas network survey uncovers 51 leaks

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 May, 2006, 12:00am

A three-week survey of the Towngas network has found 51 leaks in pipes across the city.

The Hong Kong and China Gas Company launched the three-week inspection of pipes of the same type involved in the fatal gas blast in Ngau Tau Kok. An elderly woman was killed and eight people injured in the explosion at Wai King Building on Jordan Valley North Road on April 11.

The survey of 450km of pipeline which ended on Monday found minute leaks at three locations - the junction of Wong Chuk Hang Road and Nam Long Shan Road on Hong Kong Island, Prince Edward Road West in Kowloon, and Lai Yiu Street at Kwai Chung.

'The leaks were due to pipe corrosion, and replacement and repair works were duly completed,' the company said.

It added that of more than 200,000 pipe joints along the Towngas pipelines, minute leaks were detected at 30 joints and were fixed.

'Above-ground installations were also inspected and necessary maintenance and repairs carried out on 18 above-ground installations at which minute leaks were detected,' the company said.

Towngas managing director Chan Wing-kin said the survey findings showed the pipelines were safe and well-maintained.

The company would double the frequency of its network inspection from three times to six times a year to reassure the public of its network's safety.

The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, which audited the survey, said it would continue to closely monitor the gas provider's safety management system and to review its regular maintenance programme.

'In the light of the incident, the department is now exploring with the company measures to further enhance gas safety,' a spokesman for the department said.

Hong Kong Polytechnic University engineering expert Lo Kok-keung said the company should be more careful.

'Although the percentage of leaks is low ... it is an inflammable gas that is dangerous,' Mr Lo said, adding that rust-resistant pipes should be used.

The cause of the Wai King Building blast is still under investigation.