Homer residents may catch a whiff of an unusual smell on Friday: the pungent scent of rotten eggs. On Friday morning, Enstar Natural Gas and its contractors start the process of injecting natural gas into a 17-mile, 8-inch-diameter section of the Anchor Point to Homer natural gas trunk line. As part of the process, residents in the Anchor Point and Homer areas may notice the distinct odor and should not be alarmed, Enstar said in a press release.
The process, called energizing, first involves purging air in the main trunk line from Anchor Point to valves at Homer High School on Fairview Avenue. Workers will then start running gas in the line. An odorant, mercaptan, also associated with skunks, is added to natural gas to make leaks detectible, but in this process the release of slight amounts of gas is expected. Natural gas is lighter than air and will safely dissipate into the atmosphere.
Energizing the first 17 miles of the natural gas trunk line is the first step in actually bringing natural gas service to Homer.
“This is very exciting news,” said John Sims, an Enstar spokesperson.
After the 8-inch diameter trunk line is energized, contractors will start tying in the Homer distribution line to the trunk line. Contractor Utility Technologies Inc. has built about 44 miles of the 67-mile city distribution line, said Charlie Pierce, Enstar Southern Division manager. Once the distribution lines are connected over the next three weeks, they also will be purged and energized. Although some buildings, like South Peninsula Hospital, have meters set and appliances ready to be hooked up, nobody in Homer yet has gas ready to go.
Enstar will put out public notices when it is ready to start setting meters and supplying gas. A house or business needs at least one natural gas appliance to get service, Pierce said. Many customers do have service lines already installed. The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly recently appropriated about $230,000 for Homer area public schools to convert to natural gas, said Pierce, also a borough assemblyman.
The Kachemak City distribution line has been completed, and it will be tied in to the remaining 6 miles of a 6-inch-diameter section of the trunk line from Homer High School along East End Road to Kachemak City. That section is still under construction.
For more information, call the Homer Enstar office at 435-0635 or visit its website at www.enstarnaturalgas.com and click on the “Homer Expansion” tab.
Michael Armstrong can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.