I wish I could take credit for the wonderful map, as it’s the kind of thing I would do if I were retired, but thanks to the people at HEET (Home Energy Efficiency Team) and in particular their co-founder and president Audrey Schulman, we can now view Newton’s gas leaks, as reported by National Grid in their annual Service Quality Report filed with the Department of Public Utilities in March, on a map, instead of searching through the statewide list of leaks as described here.
This is just a screen capture, but to search your neighborhood, or check how long a leak has been known to National Grid, you can go to this page which has links to maps for Newton and the 146 other Massachusetts communities HEET has mapped so far.
If you appreciate having this information, if you think it’s ridiculous that it took the recently passed state law to require disclosure of gas leak locations, and that when forced to report them, National Grid provided the information in the most user-unfriendly format possible (in order of “Leak Number”), and has resisted providing Newton and other communities with their date in Excel spreadsheet form so it could be sorted, say, alphabetically by street, please consider making a small (or large!) contribution to HEET (a 501c3 non-profit) via their PayPal link to help them continue this effort. I can attest that it must have been very time-consuming, because my Newton Tree Conservancy colleague Ron Joseph, and Marc Welch, were both trying working on turning the Service Quality Report tables into sortable Excel documents before we all got busy with spring tree plantings, and it was a messy process. And that’s before any map creation. HEET considered charging a small one-time fee to anyone looking at the maps, but ultimately decided it was more important to make the information accessible. I contributed $10 because checking this map is a lot quicker than searching the PDF for “NEW” for Newton which looks like this:
The maps are only as good as the National Grid list, however, and based on gas leaks I’m familiar with, not everything that ought to be there is. Parmenter Road gas leaks show as repaired; they’re not (as of our early April gas leak checks for tree spots). Chris Steele’s gas leak on Woodward is not there, though it’s been a problem for years and was there (still, or again) in early April. A leak on Day Street we reported in October 2014, which National Grid actually repaired — not listed. Nor are leaks at 158 & 161 Ridge Ave, also reported in October, one of which seemed to be repaired, one not. Also not showing up (on the Weston map) is the years-long, probably decades-long leak at the Rt 30 bridge over 128, which I regularly smell coming off the 128 southbound exit ramp to Rt 30 east late at night, except for a few months apparent respite following night repair work a couple of summers ago.
So while it’s a good resource to know where to think twice before planting a tree, or repaving a street, it’s not a guarantee of no leaks.