Duquesne Light Company Confirms Source of Underground Leak

Outbound lanes of Liberty Avenue to remain closed as repair work continues

PITTSBURGH — Duquesne Light Company (DLC) has confirmed the location of the underground cable leak that began on Monday, April 29. The source of the leak was found on Liberty Avenue in the Strip District between 26th and 27th streets, where DLC began excavation work overnight to further evaluate the health of the cable and determine next steps to patch the leak. Both outbound lanes of Liberty remain closed.

Upon closer inspection, crews found that site conditions warranted a second freeze location (see process below and more information here) to ensure that repairs can be done safely and effectively. The second site will be staged within a block of the identified leak location and will not have any additional impacts on traffic. Work will take place for the next several days to ensure that the freeze process is successful, after which crews expect to completely seal the leak.


“Now that we’ve confirmed the source and evaluated the area more thoroughly, we’re very confident that the second freeze site will give us the best opportunity to stop the leak,” said John Hilderbrand II, vice president of operations at DLC. “In the meantime, we’re actively collecting the dielectric fluid at the leak site; continuing to take steps to reduce the leak rate; closely monitoring local waterways; and engaging with internal and external experts to ensure a successful outcome. We continue to appreciate everyone’s patience as we safely correct the issue.”

Current Response

• DLC is using a vacuum truck to remove fluid as it leaks. Approximately 47,000 gallons have escaped to date.

• River boats will continue to patrol the Allegheny and Ohio rivers for any signs of the dielectric fluid, which is a clear, non-toxic, mineral-like liquid that presents a glossy-like sheen.

• Any fluid that has entered into nearby waterways is being collected by booms, which are temporary floating barriers that help contain leaks and spills. Currently, there are six booms on the south bank of the Allegheny River around the Strip District, and six along the Ohio River near the Chateau neighborhood.

• DLC continues to work closely with local, state and federal agencies on response efforts, including the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Pittsburgh Emergency Management, Allegheny County Emergency Services, Army Corp of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Environmental Protection.

If area residents notice a clear yet frothy-like substance on rivers or entering nearby waterways, they should notify the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.

Traffic Reminder

• Liberty Avenue outbound lanes between 26th and 28th streets will remain closed as work continues. A reopen date has not yet been determined.

• One of two inbound lanes will be open to outbound traffic throughout the process.

To ensure the safety of DLC crews and the public, drivers and pedestrians in the area should exercise caution by:

• Adhering to designated speed limits in the construction zone.

• Leaving ample space for crews to work.

• Staying behind all barriers and barricades.


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About Duquesne Light Company

For more than 100 years, Duquesne Light Company has provided safe and reliable electric service to communities in southwestern Pennsylvania. Today, our core values of safety, integrity, dependability, equity and community enable us to serve more than 600,000 customers in two counties, including the city of Pittsburgh. We are committed to safely powering our customers’ lives while playing a leading role in our region’s clean energy transition. Our vision is to create a larger-than-light, clean energy future for all by delivering exceptional results today and boldly harnessing opportunities for tomorrow. In doing so, we can ensure a cleaner, healthier and more equitable community for generations to come.


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411 Seventh Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15219

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