Hammond Ave. natural gas leak

Crews with Q3 Contracting have installed a 15-foot vent pipe (green pipe in middle) to vent a natural gas leak along Hammond Avenue near the intersection with East Ridgeway Avenue in Waterloo. Midamerican Energy discovered the leak Monday and had Q3 install the vent pipe Wednesday, but the leak won't be able to be fixed until next week at the earliest.

WATERLOO -- The fire department and the local energy company have gotten several calls about the smell of natural gas in a west Waterloo neighborhood, but say the problem is not a danger to residents and should be fixed next week.

Waterloo Fire Rescue received two calls Tuesday evening and two calls Wednesday about the odor of natural gas in the area of Hammond and East Ridgeway avenues.

Midamerican Energy spokesperson Geoff Greenwood said they received a report of a small leak in a 20-foot steel main about five feet underground parallel to Hammond Avenue several days ago, and had also received six calls to their company about the leak.

Greenwood said the company called Q3 Contracting to uncover a section of that pipe on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and installed a vent pipe on Wednesday. The pipe sticks out of the ground about 15 feet into the air.

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"That should minimize any further calls," he said, noting only a small amount of gas was leaking out of the vent pipe.

Another company will repair and restore the pipe, he said, and Greenwood hopes the work will be done as early as next week.

Fire officials say they have taken readings of the leaking gas and found "no readings of significance," meaning it's not a danger to surrounding residents. But Greenwood said that shouldn't deter people.

"We urge, if someone does smell natural gas, call us," Greenwood said. Midamerican's number is 800-595-5325.

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Staff Writer

Staff writer at The Courier 2005 (college intern), 2007-2012, 2015-present. Graduate of UNI 2006. Three-time Iowa APME award winner (investigative reporting 2008, lifestyle feature 2016, business feature 2018)

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