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image1We’ve spoken about gas leaks a few times here on the blog, but clearly the problem is not yet solved.  New laws were passed last year to try to accelerate detection and repairs.

The regular Newton Tree Conservancy spring planting will be coming up on April 25, and we’re actually scheduled to get a few trees right here on Chestnut St.

Well, maybe…

It’s good practice to take gas readings along the berm before planting because we have had such problems with leaks in the past.  In our neighborhood, there’s a long, well-known history of gas leaks and corresponding tree death along Woodward St.

Julia Malakie has been working with a private expert to take readings wherever new trees will be going in, and ironically enough – our corner seems to win the grand prize this time.  High readings along Woodward St right at Chestnut St, and a reading that the expert suggested might in fact be actively dangerous.

National Grid came by immediately, took their own readings both inside and outside, as well as at the manhole cover, storm drain, and in the berm.  They confirmed the presence of gas, but at lower concentrations.

The lesson – to the extent that there is one beyond keep your nose on alert for gas – is that just about all maintenance our infrastructure continues to be behind the curve, and it’s impacting our ability to restore what is so important to what we love about our City (in this case, the street trees which make our City a wonderful place through which to stroll.

Anyhow, go ahead, enjoy a lovely stroll around the neighborhood, and perhaps keep your nose on alert as you do so.

Addendum from Julia Malakie: Here’s a link to National Grid’s filing with the DPU, which thanks to the new legislation, now includes lists of their of outstanding gas leaks, and leaks repaired since last filing.

And here a bit of my notes on today’s testing of tree planting spots. This was one of five leaks we called in to National Grid. 15% gas readings from barhole testing along the curb at Waldorf and Canterbury knocks out two planting spots until leak is fixed. Same leak is affecting roots of a honeylocust across the street at 11 Canterbury. (There appears to be a separate leak on Meredith which would affect one potential planting spot at new duplex condos — still for sale so we don’t know if new owners would want trees anyway.)
 Waldorf gas leak

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