Natural Gas Line Worries Residents

High Pressure Line To Feed Milliken, Longmont, Estes Park

Mile upon mile of corn fields and hayfields are being dug up so a 16 inch high pressure natural gas line can be buried.

The line runs from Milliken to Berthoud. According to Xcel Energy, the line is necessary to support the need from growth in Milliken, Longmont and Estes Park.

"The existing pipeline system cannot meet this increased demand," said Michelle Aguayo, spokeswoman with Xcel.

7NEWS spoke with several residents who live near the pipeline and are concerned for their safety, in light of the recent gas line explosion in San Bruno, Calif. Seven people were killed in that explosion. The cause has not been determined.

"What can I do now," said Bill Ritter, who lives just feet from the pipe.

Ritter said he only learned of the gas line from rumors. He said Xcel never contacted him.

Aguayo said Xcel followed Weld County's protocol for notifying residents, which included an advertisement in a local paper, the Windsor Beacon. However Ritter said that paper is not delivered to Berthoud residents.

Ritter said it didn't matter what he thought of the gas line because, "Xcel was going to do what it wanted to do."

As a result of concern from nearby residents Xcel said they buried the line six feet underground instead of the required four.

"The management and employees of Xcel Energy are committed to provide safe, reliable pipeline service to our customers and to ensure the safety of people living and/or working near Xcel Energy operated pipelines carrying hazardous liquids and natural gas," said Aguayo.

Aguayo said someone will be monitoring the pressure and flow on the pipeline 24 hours a day for any indications of problems.

But resident Tom Gibson disputed this, saying Xcel only buried the gas line six feet deep in one section on a farm neighboring his property.

"The rest of the line is only four feet deep," Gibson told 7NEWS.

7NEWS learned that Xcel Energy paid 52 people for the use of their land or for crop loss.

The project is expected to be completed by November.