LEWISTON, ID - Numerous businesses in the Quad Cities closed early today due to a break in the Williams Pipeline natural gas system between Colfax and Pullman. An excavator reportedly hit the gas line at around 12:40 p.m. about four miles north of Pullman.
As a result of the leak, several schools won't have access to heat, prompting them to cancel school tomorrow. That includes Lewiston, Clarkston, Moscow, Genesee, and Whitepine. The Lapwai School District will not be impacted.
Meanwhile, the City of Moscow announced tonight that all non-essential city business offices will be closed tomorrow.
"The City’s buildings are heated with natural gas and are unable to be heated by other means except for the Police Services Facility which is heated by electric heat pumps. All essential and emergency services and facilities will remain in operation and the City’s utility, sanitation, and other services will remain unaffected," officials say. City offices will remain closed on Friday in observance of Veterans Day and will reopen on Monday.
"Williams Pipeline is one of several natural gas pipeline companies that Avista contracts with for the wholesale transportation of natural gas. This incident is expected [to] impact Avista's ability to serve customers in the Pullman, Moscow, Albion, Palouse, Uniontown, Colton, Genesee, Troy, Bovill, Deary, Asotin, Lewiston and Clarkston regions," Avista posted on its Facebook page.
"For residents who rely on natural gas for heating, cooking, and bathing, we recommend considering alternative options in case the outage lasts for an extended period," Nez Perce County Emergency Management posted.
As a result of this incident, Avista crews had to disconnect gas service to impacted customers for safety reasons. The company says it could take several days to fix the damage.
"Avista is working with the Williams Pipeline team to understand their planned restoration efforts and to assess the potential severity of impacts to the Avista system. Avista will provide additional information regarding impacts to customers as more information becomes available. Thank you for your patience," Avista adds.