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Hazel Hill Apartments to Receive Updated Natural Gas System

By Susan Larson. Photo copyright Fredericksburg.Today

Columbia Gas of Virginia has agreed to install a modern plastic natural gas piping system for Fredericksburg’s Hazel Hill Apartments, and then assume the operation and maintenance of the system once the installation is complete.

This comes after the 400 residents of the Section 8 housing complex went without heat, hot water, and clothes dryers for several weeks last spring.

“While I realize the time it has taken for all the pieces to come together was longer than anyone expected, I’m happy Columbia Gas will begin the process to replace the natural gas system at Hazel Hill,” City Council Member Chuck Frye (Ward 4) said. Frye has been working with the community on the issue since it began.

Last spring Columbia Gas shut off the gas line leading into the apartments, while working on an adjacent line. When they turned it back on, the pressure was too much for the dated system, and caused three separate leaks.

Edgewood Management Corp. manages the apartments at 100 Princess Anne St. There are 147 units, which were constructed in the early 1970s.

Hazel Hill owned and operated the natural gas system through a master meter connection with Columbia Gas of Virginia. A master meter is an arrangement in which Columbia Gas of Virginia provides the natural gas to a single meter, and the customer — in this case Hazel Hill Apartments — is responsible for the ownership, distribution and operation of the underground natural gas system serving the complex.

Columbia Gas of Virginia has been working over the summer to identify the best route for the new natural gas pipeline. Installation is expected to be complete before the winter heating season, according to Bob Innes of Columbia Gas of Virginia. The company will them be responsible for distributing the natural gas to the apartments, responding to emergencies, and maintaining the safe operation of the system.

“I will continue to be personally engaged and on site weekly to monitor progress, and will work to ensure regular communication with our neighbors throughout the construction,” Frye said.

Columbia Gas of Virginia delivers natural gas to some 260,000 customers in portions of Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, suburban Richmond, Central Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley, the Lynchburg region, and parts of Western Virginia.

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