161 gas leaks found near Activa Ave. explosion, none 'harmful'

A report by the City of Kitchener has determined that no harmful gas leaks have been found in any homes in the area of Activa Avenue, where a two-storey home exploded in January.

300 residents requested free inspection of gas service

An inspection of 300 homes near the site of a home explosion on Activa Avenue in Kitchener last January revealed more than 160 leaks, although none of them were considered harmful, say Kitchener Utilities staff. 

Those 300 homes were among 750 households that were eligible for free gas service inspections. Those inspections led to these findings:

  • Inspectors found 161 leaks. The majority of them were"minor." 
  • Minor leaks are where the "concentration of gas in the air was low enough not to create a flash of fire in presence of an ignition source."
  • Inspectors said 11 of the leaks resulted in non-compliant infractions.
  • Of the 11 infractions, two required Kitchener Utilities to shut off gas to the property temporarily.
  • An additional five infractions were issued, but were not related to gas leaks.   

"Leaks are not uncommon in the natural gas industry," said Wally Malcolm, director of Kitchener Utilities. "It was low levels of leaks so there was no danger to the public." 

Kitchener Fire Chief Tim Beckett (Tim Beckett/Twitter)

For leaks to be considered dangerous, the concentration of natural gas in the air has to be between five and 15 per cent, Malcolm said. The majority of the 161 minor leaks found during inspections had gas concentrations about 0.02 per cent. 

Most of the leaks occurred in homes at connections between lines and appliances, said Malcolm.

The cost to complete the inspections and repairs to the minor leaks was $22,005.

The inspections were necessary for the peace of mind of the Activa Avenue community, said Kitchener Fire Chief Tim Beckett. "We had a community in crisis and the community had asked for the reassurances and this program offered that."

Beckett added that the Activa Avenue explosion is a reminder to homeowners to get regular inspections of gas lines and natural gas appliances.

"We would like to see things done annually," said Beckett. Often gas lines can be bumped when furniture is moved or when children play in basements causing minor leaks, he said.   

The Ontario Fire Marshal's investigation of the explosion on Activa Avenue is ongoing. A cause is yet to be determined. 


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