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Archive for September 17, 2018

Sept. 17, 2018 — The other disaster

Over the weekend, much of the news was devoted to the remnants of Hurricane Florence, which kicked up tides and rained down feet of water on the Carolinas, killing nearly three dozen people.

But there has been another disaster affecting lives in the U.S., about 15 miles due north of Boston.

In the towns of Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover, homes were literally exploding over the last five days. A series of natural gas fires and explosions have torn through buildings and homes, damaging more than 80 buildings and killing one person.

But unlike Florence, this was very much a man-made disaster. In the last couple of days, information has come out that the pressure in the gas lines was up to 12 times what was called for. I’ve also heard reports that some monitors of the gas pressure were turned off in the weeks before the disaster.

In the last couple of days, as a response, the utility company, Columbia Gas, has announced that it was going to replace 48 miles’ worth of gas mains in the area.

That’s a lot of old cast-iron piping that needs to go. It makes one wonder if there are more leaky iron pipes out there that have not been addressed.