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Relief valve near Saluda dam caused noise, 'tremor' felt across Midlands, officials say

Officials say a relief valve on natural gas line near the Saluda Dam caused the noise and 'tremor' felt by some in the Midlands Friday night.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — What was that noise you heard, that 'tremor' you felt on Friday night? Officials say a relief valve in a natural gas line near the Saluda dam is to blame.

The SC Office of Regulatory Staff (SCORS) confirms the loud boom heard/felt in the Midlands Friday night was a relief valve on a natural gas line near the Saluda Dam, according to the S.C. Emergency Management Division (SCEMD).

Dominion Energy said there was a temporary release of pressure from a natural gas regulating station near Lake Murray Friday night. "Law enforcement & our crews responded," they tweeted. "Incident is not related to any of our facilities. No reports of any incidents on our system in the Midlands."

ORS said the valve activated to prevent a rupture of the gas line, and safety systems worked as intended. Officials say there is no danger to residents. 

Crews are working on the line, and you can expect the smell of gas in the area, according to SCEMD, who also said the natural gas line is not owned by Dominion Energy and the Saluda Dam at Lake Murray is fine. 

In a statement released to News 19 Friday night, officials with Dominion Energy said, "Safety is our top priority. We are aware of a temporary release of pressure from a natural gas regulating station near Lake Murray. While law enforcement and Dominion Energy crews responded, the scene has been cleared. This incident is not related to any Dominion Energy South Carolina facilities. We have no reports of any incidents on our system in the Midlands."

Earlier Friday night, the Irmo Police Department confirmed to News 19 that they responded to a "natural gas leak" at McMeekin Station, which is owned by Dominion Energy around 8:46 p.m. Battalion Chief Randy Arant said there was no fire but the leak was very loud, "like a jet engine." 

National Guard training exercises were also underway Friday night. Earlier this week, McEntire Joint National Guard Base had said low-flying helicopters, tilt-rotor aircraft and airplanes would be seen -- and heard -- during the hours of darkness Thursday and Friday.