Columbia Gas: Hits to gas lines have decreased

There's been 17 in our area already this year

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – As we learned with the Worthington Street gas explosion in Springfield, gas leaks can be dangerous, but it still seems you hear about them all the time.

There’s been 17 in our area already this year. On Thursday, it was in Longmeadow where a contractor hit a gas line.

“All the time, all the time, every time they’re working somewhere you see someone hit a gas pipe,” said Springfield’s Pearl Johnson.

So why does something as dangerous as hitting a gas line appear to happen so often? Columbia Gas of Massachusetts Spokeswoman Andrea Luppi told 22News by law all contractors are supposed to call DigSafe which gives the gas company a chance to properly mark the ground before work begins, but it’s possible not all of them do.

Columbia Gas has started sending a Damage Prevention Coordinator to work sites they’re notified of to ensure they’re working safely. The damage prevention coordinator will also hand out manuals like this one to the contractors on site so they’re always up-to-date to any changes to the DigSafe laws.

Still Luppi says the number of gas line hits are decreasing. “We’ve actually been able to reduce hits from 2013, so far this year we’ve reduced those hits by contractors by 40% so we’re feeling very good about the work that’s being done by contractors in the street.”

Violating DigSafe laws can result in thousands of dollars in penalties. Luppi also says she expects gas hits to decrease more as they continue to replace their gas lines statewide.

This also goes for homeowners, if you need to do anything from plant a tree or put in a mailbox, you have to call DigSafe first, just dial 8-1-1.

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