In a letter to the heads of Columbia Gas, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey revealed the pressure in Columbia Gas pipelines caused a series of explosions in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover last Thursday.
A federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration report said the pressure was too high. The increase registered in a Columbia Gas control room in Ohio.
It’s reported the Columbia Gas system should have been around .5 per square inch, but readings in the area reached at least 6 PSI, twelve times higher than the system was intended.
One of the dozens of explosions killed a teenager, injured several others and destroyed dozens of houses in the Merrimack Valley. More than 8,000 families were forced to evacuate their homes for days.
The power’s back on, but it could take weeks to safely restore gas service.
While Governor Charlie Baker appointed Eversource Energy to coordinate the initial restoration effort, Columbia Gas took control Monday, and brought in 670 technicians from around the country to work on the gas meters, and replace 48 miles of affected pipelines. They’re also pledging $10-million for a community fund to help those affected, according to the company’s Spokesperson Scott Ferson.
“The company has set up release centers and people are coming in,” Ferson told 22News. “We saw a few hundred people yesterday and we’re seeing hundreds today. And Columbia takes responsibility for meeting those needs.”
Monday, the release centers saw 1500 people and that number continues to grow.
The NTSB said human error could be to blame.
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Columbia Gas. The gas company told 22News they do not comment on pending litigation.