Lejeune converts to natural gas heating systems

30 Mar 2016 | Lance Cpl. Ned Johnson Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — In an effort to make Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune more energy efficient, building heating systems are being converted from steam to natural gas.

            While the initiative means a smaller carbon footprint, it also means natural gas lines now run across the installation.

            Elizabeth Smith, a mechanical engineer with public works division, wants people to understand the inherent dangers of natural gas.

            “There have been two near misses,” said Smith. “There have been no injuries, and we have been able to get it taken care of, but there was potential for danger.

            “If people don’t know that we have gas all over the base, then they may not know what to do or how to handle it.”

             Piedmont Natural Gas has conducted training with first responders and emergency services on Camp Lejeune.

            Piedmont plans to conduct more training in April to educate contractors and unit safety and energy management officers.

            According to Joe Heckman with Piedmont, natural gas can smell like rotten eggs or sound like hissing. Other indicators of a gas leak can include dead grass around pipes or an unusual amount of flies.

            Smith added that natural gas pipes are painted in bright yellow.

            Anyone who suspects a gas leak in or near their building should immediately call 911 and evacuate the building. Once in a safe place, call Piedmont Natural Gas at 1-800-752-7504.

            Heckman also said contractors must dial 811 before digging.