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Washington Gas Says Pipe Can Stay

WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) Can the gas company really force you to move a gas line -- and pay thousands for it?

Bonnie Rowan contacted 9News and when we reached out to Washington Gas, a spokesman insisted the company never told the DC woman her line was unsafe, or that she would have to pay to fix it. 

"Oh I'm so happy! Fantastic!" Rowan said after we told her about a call from the gas company. 

The story goes back to August.  A water main break and then a sewer line back up blew out the front yard of her Northwest DC townhome. leaving a gas line hanging four feet in the air where a retaining wall once protected it.

"Now it's sitting here exposed." She figured it was dangerous. "It looks like a piece of playground equipment. I could just see a kid hanging from it."

At first, Washington Gas told her it was fine. But ten days ago, she says the company changed it's mind.

"Woman appears at the door with this piece of paper," says Rowan, waving an invoice. It was a bill for $72 just to estimate the cost of moving the line -- and a total of $2,336 to actually get the permits and do the work.  

Rowan says the inspector told her the pipe was a hazard -- and that she had to pay to fix it. "It was like being hit by the Mafia."

A Washington Gas spokesman now insists if the line was dangerous, the company would have fixed it for free.

So the story now has a happy ending. The Rowans are planning to leave the darn gas pipe right where it is. Maybe cover it with a fresh coat of paint. 

Rowan says the water company has promised to rebuild her retaining wall -- and then everything will be right back to where it was for the last 40 years.


Written and Reported by Bruce Leshan
9News Now & wusa9.com
Twitter: @BruceLeshan