Questions continue over Farmingdale gas line rupture

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Recriminations continue over a gas line that ruptured earlier this month at a Farmingdale construction site as village officials and others question who is responsible.

On Feb. 6, contractors working on Jefferson Plaza, a project on Secatogue Avenue slated to be a mixed-used development with 154 apartments and 19,200 square feet of retail space, hit a gas line during excavation. The project is adjacent to the Long Island Rail Road station. The village fire department rushed to the scene, followed by Nassau County police, a county hazmat team and county emergency management personnel.

Farmingdale Mayor Ralph Ekstrand, in a Feb. 18 letter to the state Public Service Commission, asked that procedures for identifying the locations of gas lines be reviewed.

National Grid spokeswoman Karen Young said the company was not properly notified of the work being undertaken, as required by state law. "While natural gas service to the location was discontinued in 2013 as requested by the customer, our infrastructure remains in the area and a mark-out was required before excavation," she said in an email.

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State law requires that contractors, excavators and property owners contact a state call center between two and 10 business days before digging begins. The utility lines are then marked with spray paint. Records at that call center show that a contractor filed for this paint marking in November, and National Grid complied. Mark-out requests were then filed again following the incident.

However, Young in her email said that a contractor is supposed to "refresh" mark-out requests 10 days after the initial filing. Anthony Bartone, at Farmingdale-based Barton Properties LLC, which is developing the property with TDI of Irving, Texas, said he had believed the gas lines had been removed.

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