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Interface hydraulic valve has digital control

TELLURIDE − A key SourceGas valve failed in December, emitting high pressure natural gas into the air over a neighborhood where a debris flow during last July´s Cornet Creek flood cracked the gas line open, creating the same dangerous conditions.

"The valve blew again and it created an extremely dangerous situation," Town Councilmember Thom Carnevale said during last week's meeting of the town council. "It could be catastrophic for the community." In addition to the other problems associated with last year's flood, which the town is trying to address by hiring an engineering consultant to study the flood-control issues, the gas valve has remained problematic.

Telluride Town Manager Frank Bell said late last week that SourceGas has been written a letter "so they can remove it." However, that likely won't happen without "some additional negotiations," he said.

In fact, SourceGas officials have not responded to the request.

"I'm patiently waiting," Bell said.

In the meantime, the valve at 605 W. Colorado "failed" again between Christmas and New Year's Day, on Dec. 27, Bell said.

"The valve failed, and the fire department went there," Bell said. "Something broke in a valve and it discharged gas for some period of time."

When the valve blows, it sounds like "a jet engine," Bell said. Of greater concern: a spark might could ignite the gas and cause an explosion.

"It's going to be a pricey project to fix it, but we are trying to get negotiations going with that right now," Bell said.

When asked last week about the negotiations last week's town council session, Town Attorney Kevin Geiger said. "I prefer not to give some analysis at this public meeting." In the meantime, town officials and its consultant, Musseter Engineering, is working on a comprehensive series of approaches to improve the flood-control conditions on Cornet Creek.

Stan Berryman, head of the town's public works department, said the town has already budgeted $900,000 to renovate the Dakota Street Bridge this year. In addition to other stream-flow enhancement efforts such as continuing to clean out debris from beneath other bridges, "and minor stuff to the stream bed," whatever the consultants come up with will get an anxious analysis by pro-active west end neighborhood residents who have been calling for the town to address the dangers since last summer's flooding occurred.