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UPDATE: Newark Memorial Gas Leak Origin Unknown

The gas leak was detected Tuesday afternoon. A contract company with NUSD is working to find the origin of the leak.

Editor's Note: This report was updated at 1:20 p.m. on Nov. 16.

A contract company for Newark Unified School District is working to identify the origin of a gas leak that was detected at Tuesday afternoon, according to district officials.

The gas leak was reported around 3:30 p.m. after someone smelled a faint scent of gas and called PG&E, said Superintendent of Schools Dave Marken Tuesday night. Most students were already off campus since school had been dismissed at 2:40 p.m., he added.

PG&E personnel were on hand Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning to help detect the origins of the gas leak, PG&E spokesperson Monica Tell said.

The gas line serving the school has been shut off, and there will be no heat or hot water in the meantime.

Tell said the area is safe at this time.

"There is no gas service currently to the school, so there is no immediate danger as a result of that. And now it’s really just about (making repairs) to have gas services restored," Tell said.

Tell did not know what exactly is wrong but said PG&E crews did determine that repairs will need to be made during next week's Thanksgiving break.

Executive Assistant to the Superintendent Liz Warren emphasized Wednesday afternoon that because the gas pipeline is on Newark Memorial High School's property, a contractor is working on the repairs.

Warren said district officials have yet to be updated on the status of the work. Once district officials are updated on the severity of the leak, it will be determined whether the campus needs to be shut down and parents will be notified accordingly, district officials said.

Marken said if a closure is necessary, the days would be made up either during spring break or at the end of the school year.

Parents reported getting notifications about the leak by Wednesday afternoon.

PG&E and both were found to be free of leaks.

The June pipeline testing, known as hydrostatic pressure testing, is part of PG&E's efforts to test approximately 150 miles of pipelines in highly populated areas that have the same characteristics and age of , PG&E spokesman Brian Swanson has said.

Hydrostatic pressure testing has been used by natural gas transmission industries for more than 30 years and is a commonly accepted approach to testing pipelines, according to PG&E. For more information on hydrostatic pressure tests, visit the PG&E website here.

James November 17, 2011 at 03:00 PM
PG&E couldn't find a Leak if it was standing above them! Perhaps one of NPD's Dogs can help find it? Animals are more tuned to that kind of thing
Jennifer Hicklin November 17, 2011 at 06:30 PM
Interesting that there have been ZERO updates to the parents about the findings or the causes. They stated Monday that parents would be updated as soon as anything was found out. I guess they hope we just forget about it. It's only gas right? I got 3 automated messages about the missing kids Monday, 3 automated messages reminding me last night was report card pick up night, 2 automated messages inviting me to the PTSA coffee social tonight with Dr. Markem and nothing about this issue since the original notification Monday. hmmmm
Mona Taplin November 17, 2011 at 06:45 PM
Jennifer, that worries me. They should have discovered it by now, or declared it not to be a gas odor.
Patricia November 18, 2011 at 12:16 AM
I got a message today indicating the gas was off and meals would be prepared and served in the main "kitchen" and all went smooth as usual. I guess they will have to decide eventually whether or not to turn the gas back on and hope for the best or not. Was it ever said where the primary smell was coming from? I was back stage on Sunday and it wafted through there for about 30 minutes.
Nika Megino November 18, 2011 at 12:34 AM
Hi all. Superintendent Dave Marken said more tests were conducted Thursday to try and find the source of the leak. I have yet to hear back what was found during the testing. Here is the most recent report on this incident: http://newark.patch.com/articles/tests-continue-following-nmhs-gas-leak

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