Peoples Gas says DLR valve is safe but unauthorized
24-Mar-08 A spokesperson for Peoples Gas says the valve on a gas line at Marina City, apparently installed for use by Dicks Last Resort, is perfectly safe but they are going to remove it.
PR Manager Bonnie Johnson says while installation of the valve was legal, and not considered theft of gas, we wouldnt authorize it.
The brass valve was installed on the line before it reaches a gas meter. Johnson says it appears the tap would have then connected to a new meter, and then to the commercial tenant space.
When representatives of Peoples Gas inspected the valve on March 13, Johnson says, they did not deem it to be unsafe.
Whoever installed the valve knew what they were doing, so it was probably safe.
The valve will be removed soon, possibly very soon thanks inadvertently to MCO. The original plan was to wait until after midnight to remove it, so as not to disturb the restaurant. When informed the restaurant has not been built yet, Johnson said she would pass that along and probably get the valve removed sooner.
A photograph sent anonymously to MCO claims to show the natural gas pipe at the base of the west residential tower, modified to receive a new gas meter.
The consensus of those who have seen this photo is that the tap is in the upper left corner (highlighted), seen in a larger version at right.
DeMarke says gas is sent through the pipeline by Peoples Gas, and that distribution of natural gas is a regulated activity. The gas is purchased for the commercial area from Exelon. A spokesperson for Peoples Gas was not aware of any service calls to Marina City in the past week.
Commercial property manager Robert DeMarke has denied the claim of a hot tap, saying Dicks Last Resort has had normal gas service for months.
The same resident who says he saw the gas company representative says a Chicago Department of Environment vehicle was seen parked on the plaza level on Thursday. According to its web site, Department of Environment inspectors respond to citizen complaints, including those of odors. There have been unconfirmed claims of a gas smell in the residential towers.
A representative of Dicks Last Resort did not respond to a request for comment about these claims. A message was left on Friday with the Department of Environment but it was not immediately returned.
By Steven Dahlman | Loop North News | Published 24-Mar-08 3:25 AM