PORT HURON, Mich., Sept. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Responding to reports from the
Chicago and Detroit areas of the possible improper removal from service of
older natural gas pressure regulators containing Mercury, SEMCO ENERGY GAS
COMPANY has conducted a voluntary initial review of its operations records.
The review has established that neither SEMCO ENERGY nor its customers
need have any concerns over the presence of Mercury. The company's records do
not contain a single occasion of the improper removal of a Mercury-loaded
regulator or a Mercury spill.
Of the approximately 7,000 indoor meters still in use in SEMCO ENERGY GAS
COMPANY's service area no regulator in service in a residence is believed to
contain mercury. Of these 7,000, some 3,300 are in service in low-pressure
distribution systems. This means that the pressure in the mains and service
lines is low enough so that the regulators on the appliances themselves are
sufficient to control operating pressure.
The remaining 3,700 meter sets will be inspected by SEMCO ENERGY
technicians to verify that none employ a mercury-loaded regulator. The
balance of SEMCO's residential meters are located outdoors. These meter sets
are of a more modern design and do not employ Mercury in their components.
Mercury-loaded regulators were used primarily in the 1930s, '40s and '50s.
The element, common in thermometers, barometers and batteries, was used in the
seal of the regulator which, in the event of a pressure surge, would break,
allowing natural gas to pass through the vent tube on the regulator into the
outer air. Typically, a regulator is located upstream of the gas meter and
its function is to reduce the pressure of natural gas to approximately that of
the operating pressure of appliances. A small regulator on the appliance
itself regulates actual operating pressure.
SEMCO ENERGY GAS COMPANY distributes natural gas to more than 350,000
customer in Michigan and Alaska. It also owns and operates businesses
involved in natural gas engineering and quality assurance services, pipeline
construction services, propane distribution, intrastate pipelines and natural
gas storage in various regions of the United States. In addition, it provides
information technology and outsourcing services, specializing in the mid-range
SOURCE SEMCO ENERGY, Inc.
Web site: http: //www.semcoenergy.com
CONTACT: Francis R. Lieder, Jr., Manager of Corporate Communications & Media Relations of SEMCO ENERGY, Inc., 810-987-2200, ext. 4186, fax, 810-989-4098, or E-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org