Columbia Gas begins repair program for non-threatening leaks

Aug. 3, 2017 | G. Michael Dobbs

SPRINGFIELD – Columbia Gas of Massachusetts has announced it will fix more than 200 Grade 3 gas leaks by the end of the year.

The action was the result of an agreement between the gas company and the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition (SCJC).

“I received letters from the SCJC and a Northampton citizens group expressing concerns about Columbia Gas’ leak repair strategy,” said Columbia Gas of Massachusetts President Steve Bryant. “Those letters caused us, for the first time, to seriously consider the environmental impact of Grade 3 leaks.”

Jesse Lederman, director of Public Health and Environmental Initiatives for the Springfield non-profit Arise, said, “We remain deeply appreciative of Columbia Gas stepping up and doing the right thing. This is a great example of corporate responsibility, and we are proud to have Columbia Gas as partners in the business community.”

Sheila A. Doiron, director, Communications and Community Relations for Columbia Gas of Massachusetts explained to Reminder Publications what a Grade 3 leak is. “The leaks scheduled for repair under this program are Grade 3 leaks.  This classification of leak poses no risk to life or property.  Columbia Gas evaluates these leaks every year to ensure they remain not a risk to life or property.  The change is that we are now also considering the environmental impact of the leaks.  The program targets leaks for repair or elimination by replacement of the pipe that we believe to have the most environmental impact.”  

Doiron added, “The cost to repair a leak is currently estimated to be under $2,500 each but depending on the circumstances and the resources needed to identify and repair the leak, the cost can be significantly more.  The 200 leaks are targeted for repair in 2017.”

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