Senators Markey and Warren Query Columbia Gas about Safety of Its Pipelines Throughout Massachusetts in Wake of Merrimack Valley Explosions and Fires
Boston (September 21, 2018) – Senators Edward J. Markey and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today called on Columbia Gas of Massachusetts to provide information and assurances about other low-pressure natural gas distribution systems in Massachusetts in the wake of the deadly September 13 gas explosions and fires in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover. In the letter the Senators ask for details about current or planned work to uprate these low-pressure distribution systems to medium-pressure systems, as well as operating procedures for upgrading the pipeline system.
“It is imperative that we understand what actions Columbia Gas is taking to ensure the safety of its pipeline system in all other areas of the state,” write the Senators in the letter to Columbia Gas of Massachusetts.
A copy of the letter to Columbia Gas can be found HERE.
According to the National Transit Safety Board (NTSB), its investigation is focusing on a pressure increase that may be linked to pressure sensors that were on a gas line taken out of service by Columbia Gas. The company had reported earlier that day that it was performing upgrade work in the region. The Senators also ask about the contractor that was performing the upgrade work on the pipelines, if that contractor continues to work on other areas of the pipeline for Columbia Gas, and for the company to provide a copy of the Columbia Gas’ Operator Qualification Plan.