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Columbia Gas to inspect 700 abandoned gas lines in Merrimack Valley

Updated: Sep 24, 2019

by Jill Harmacinski, Eagle Tribune

A day before the first anniversary of the Merrimack Valley gas disaster, Columbia Gas announced plans to inspect 700 abandoned gas lines in the area most affected.

The lines were taken offline when the utility replaced its gas network in the Merrimack Valley last fall. Currently they have no gas running through them.

"These compliance checks are being conducted out of an abundance of caution and in order to verify that the work on these lines was done consistent with Massachusetts requirements," the company said in a statement released at 9 a.m. Thursday.

The abandoned gas lines are located in Andover, North Andover and Lawrence. The largest amount of abandoned gas lines, 411 lines, are located in Lawrence, according to officials.

Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera was not pleased to hear about the abandoned gas lines.

"I am super concerned. If they forgot to do this, what else did they forget to do?" Rivera said.

"Columbia Gas of Massachusetts announced today it will begin compliance checks on service lines abandoned last fall as part of the recovery work in the Merrimack Valley. Columbia Gas recently identified some instances of noncompliance with Massachusetts requirements related to the process of abandoning service lines, the inactive gas piping that connected a customer’s facilities to the old gas system."

"As a result, Columbia Gas is planning to verify the processes by which certain service lines were abandoned from the old gas system," according to the statement.


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