Amid reports of following Sandy, officials with New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) announced they are shutting off the natural gas infrastructure that serves Long Beach Island, as well as other hurricane-damaged barrier islands south of Point Pleasant Beach to Seaside Park.
Approximately 28,000 customers will be impacted, officials said. Atlantic City Electric reported earlier today that electricity will be restored to LBI once the natural gas system is shut down.
“Our crews did everything we could to save the system,” Chief Operating Officer Kathleen T. Ellis said in a prepared statement. “We were only able to gain access to some of the most damaged areas within the last 24 hours, and the devastation is nothing that could be seen from the air. It is beyond imagination. The only safe thing to do is shut down the system.”
NJNG officials said it will take a couple of hours to shut the valves off, and a few additional hours to vent the system. Customers may smell a gas odor, depending on the wind, during this process. Residents should not attempt to regain access to the barrier islands until officials advise it is safe to return, NJNG officials said.
NJNG has more than 400 personnel on the ground, plus mutual aid crews from Washington Gas Light, Columbia, Unitel, New England Gas and Delmarva, that are addressing each of the leaks. Additional mutual aid crews from PSE&G, South Jersey Gas and UGI are on their way.
New Jersey Natural Gas officials reported responding to more than 1,300 leak reports over the past three days and "have made each safe."
The last flare-up that was reported in the Curtis Point or Mantaloking section of Brick Township was made safe at 4:30 this morning, officials said.