On Eve of Gas Disaster Anniversary, Columbia to Check 700 Abandoned Lines for Compliance

Andover Police worked in concert with gas technicians to assist residents in the wake of the Merrimack Valley gas-related fire disaster. (Courtesy photograph)

On the eve of the first anniversary of the Merrimack Valley gas-related fire disaster that killed a Lawrence teen and injured 22 others, Columbia Gas announced plans to inspect approximately 700 abandoned lines for compliance.

Mark Kempic, president and chief operating officer of Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, said Thursday that the company will begin checking lines abandoned last September as the latest step in ongoing recovery efforts in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.

“We recognize that our customers have been through a difficult year as we conducted the recovery and restoration work in these communities. We understand that additional work may frustrate them, and we apologize,” Kempic said in a statement.

The decision to check lines was made after Columbia identified “instances of noncompliance” with state regulations related to service line abandonment. The lines to be inspected are not connected to active gas lines and there is no reason to suspect safety issues related to those lines, Kempic said.

No disruption in service is expected.

As WHAV previously reported, the National Transportation Safety Board scheduled a meeting Sept. 24 in Washington, D.C. to determine the probable cause of the Sept. 13, 2018 explosions that rocked the region.

Comments are closed.