Following his appeal to state regulators, Scott Wogomon of Tonganoxie has natural gas service again for hot water and heat nearly six weeks after an unknown gas smell. Kansas Gas Service turned the service back on Friday night at the Wogomon family’s newly built home in the Jackson Heights subdivision.
As 41 Action News reported earlier this month, Kansas Gas Service shut off Wogomon’s line on Aug. 18 to dig up his property and even drill through his driveway to try to find the source of the leak. The utility later determined the gas did not come from its lines, but it wouldn’t restore service to Wogomon’s house because it considered the gas a “potential hazard.”
Methane gas detected
Soon after the leak, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) also began testing Wogomon’s property and other areas in the neighborhood. During its testing, the KDHE found methane gas in the soil, but consistently told us there’s “no health risk.” The KDHE confirmed those conclusions when it told us it finished its investigation last week:
“Along with the Wogomon residence, (the naturally occurring) methane was detected near two additional homes, though at significantly lower concentrations. Our latest sampling results show almost no methane near those two additional residences. We have also determined that there isn’t sufficient pressure in the ground to cause the methane to migrate or enter any of the residence’s basement.” - Ashton Rucker, KDHE Office of Communications
After hearing “no health risk” from the KDHE and “potential hazard” from the Kansas Gas Service, Wogomon began looking elsewhere to ask for help. Wogomon sent us the appeal he filed with his home builder’s warranty company and the response he received: “This is not a builder issue and there is nothing the builder can do to rectify the problem. The leak that created the high levels of gas in the soil is the responsibility of the gas company.”
Wogomon also filed an appeal with the state’s utility regulator , the Kansas Corporation Commission, to try to restore natural gas service to his home.
An official with the Kansas Corporation Commission told 41 Action News it opened an investigation into Wogomon’s case a few weeks ago.
Kansas Gas Service confirmed it did restore service to Wogomon’s home this past Friday, Sept. 28. We asked the Kansas Gas Service what had changed for it to no longer consider the situation a “potential hazard,” and we received this statement:
“The Kansas Department of Health and Environment confirmed that the stray methane gas detected in the Jacksonville Heights community is not from our pipeline and originates from a vegetative source. Based on those findings and KDHE’s conclusion that the gas does not pose a public health risk, we were able to restore natural gas service.” - Dawn Ewing, Kansas Gas Service.
Patrick Fazio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .