County to go with city on permits for line digging

Mesa County commissioners on Wednesday agreed to align with a policy used by the city of Grand Junction that requires private contractors to first obtain permits before boring into the ground to install utilities or clean sewer lines.

The issue comes on the heels of the natural gas explosion that leveled two homes on North Seventh Street in March 2013. The city also has reported several incidents of breached lines since last year’s explosion.

In that incident, a contractor was boring into the ground and struck an unmarked natural gas line. Natural gas seeped into the city’s sewer system and ignited.

As of September 2013, the city of Grand Junction has required contractors to take extra precautions like providing camera footage inside lines before conducting directional boring.

Commissioners unanimously voted on the issue during Wednesday’s meeting of the Persigo Wastewater Treatment Plant board, which includes elected city and county representatives. The estimated cost to contractors to abide by the new requirements is about $350 per city block. The requirement now extends to areas outside of Grand Junction’s city limits, but inside the Persigo boundary, or areas that are connected to the sewer system.


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