Rowan University and the surrounding community of Glassboro have recently experienced a consecutive string of gas main breaks during the last few months. Three leaks have occurred within the past two months and another occurred by Edgewood Park Apartments in February of last year. The four leaks are not directly related.
The first of these gas leaks, which occurred at the Edgewood Park Apartments in February 2015 was a result of a ruptured pipeline, according to Assistant Vice President of Facilities Operations & Plant Management James Lovegrove.
“The pipe ruptured, and we discovered it by smell,” Lovegrove said. “When we dug under the ground, we found that there was an old piece of pipe which had gone bad.”
The university addressed the old pipes in this area on campus by replacing all the pipeline over the summer of 2015.
More recently, Rowan University alerted students on March 7 of a gas leak at Bole Hall and Bole Hall Annex, ordering those in the area to evacuate. Although the leak forced students and faculty to leave the building for almost two hours, Lovegrove said that the leak did not cause any long-term harm to the area.
“There we were replacing the sidewalk,” Lovegrove said. “[The gas] line was higher than it is normally put in the ground and we hit it. South Jersey Gas came in and replaced it.”
The two most recent gas leaks occurred on High Street West within a week of one another. The first occurred on April 13 and the second on April 20. Reed Layton, Senior Director of Public Safety, explained these leaks were both accidental.
These two particular instances were related to each other, but not to those occurring on campus. As construction workers have been replacing all of the water lines on the road, they bumped both gas lines due to outdated records which were intended to indicate the location of the lines.
“As construction workers replace the water main lines and then go back through and repave, they’ve hit two lines,” Layton said. “The marked gas records were not exact, as they’re old lines. Gas lines which have been installed more recently usually have more exact records.”
Moving forward with the construction on High Street West, Layton does not foresee continuous gas line breaks as an issue. To Layton’s knowledge, he has not heard any complaints or concerns from the Rowan University student body nor has he been informed of any Glassboro residents who have expressed concern about the semi-recurring issue.
The four gas leaks are mostly unrelated to one another and and Layton believes they should not alarm the student body or residents of Glassboro.
“If you think about it, of about 40 houses on that road, we’ve only hit [lines] on two of them,” Layton said. “In general, when we have these leaks, we usually try to notify campus. I don’t foresee any more leaks.”