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February 8, 2023
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Gas company reported 760 miles of risky pipes

Nearly annually before dozens of explosions and fires ripped through three Merrimack Valley communities, Columbia Gas identified over 750 miles of leak-prone pipeline that had to be replaced, as outlined by documents filed while using the Department of Public Utilities.

The project would replace 320 miles of gas pipe between 2017 and 2021, according to an idea filed with all the DPU by Columbia. It is actually unclear the amount continues to be replaced, but a project timeline needed 50 miles to generally be replaced in 2017 and 60 miles in 2018.

All together, Columbia claimed it has 760 miles of pipe that should be replaced across its three service areas in Massachusetts. In order to pay for the replacement, Columbia asked the DPU to allow it to pass a on $26.8 million to ratepayers.

Columbia failed to answer requests for comment.

Still, it really is unclear what change up the infrastructure played in last week’s disaster. Officials have said a gas main was overpressurized by 12 times its normal pressure, which resulted in the leaks, fires and explosions. Authorities have never yet said what caused the overpressurization.

The numerous miles of lines that are wanting replacement were part of a lawsuit filed in Essex Superior Court yesterday on the part residents who are forced from their homes for several days over the weekend. The lawsuit, filed by national law practice Morgan & Morgan, alleges Columbia’s negligence caused the disaster the other day. The suit, which happens to be seeking class-action status, seeks to represent residents of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover who evacuated on Thursday.

“Our goal suggestions so your residents within these three towns have accessibility to justice plus the company, Columbia Gas, and it is parent company NiSource, are all held fully accountable,” said Frank Petosa, an attorney at law with Morgan & Morgan. “What we’re looking to do is hold both companies accountable assure all people the category could see justice.”

Petosa said the firm will conduct a investigation and said Columbia has a reputation putting money over safety. He stated are going to seeking an injunction to avoid Columbia from operating until it has taken steps to make sure its technique is safe.

At least two other firms started on the lookout for plaintiffs to represent in lawsuits.

Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera blasted the companies, saying the lenders are merely trying to profit off people’s confusion.

“The time undertake a conversation about lawsuits is after most people are home, safe and then to possess some semblance of normalcy. I think it’s shameful that folks are attempting to get victims today who definitely are hungry for information,” Rivera said. “They are really preying on these people’s desire to have information. That is going to stop.”

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