What’s in Boston’s proposed Gas Leak Ordinance?

PLEASE ATTEND THE JULY 12 HEARING ON BOSTON’S GROUNDBREAKING GAS LEAK ORDINANCE — noon at City Council chambers, Boston City Hall. If you can’t attend, call your councilor at 617-635-3040 and urge her/him to support the ordinance. We need to fix the leaks now and plug Boston’s #1 driver of greenhouse gases!

The proposed ordinance, which our gas leak coalition developed with Councilor Matt O’Malley, says:

PURPOSE

Eliminate all Boston gas leaks in six years.

GRADE LEAKS FOR VOLUME AS WELL AS SAFETY

Gas utilities now grade leaks for safety as Grade 1, 2, and 3. We want utilities to measure the leaks and grade the top 10% as Volume Priority leaks that have to be repaired within six months. (A recent BU study found that 7% of Boston’s leaks are leaking half of all the escaped gas, so fixing the top 10% would bring down gas emissions fast.)

REPORT LEAKS

Every year, utilities would report to the DPW, Fire and Police Departments the location, estimated size, volume, and risk of explosion of every known gas leak. Every quarter, utilities would provide the City a current GPS map of their gas pipelines and infrastructure including age, material and pressure. They would also post the maps online.

 

Utilities would also report the total volume of all their leaked gas to several City departments.

NOTICE OF STREET REPAIR AND OBLIGATION TO REPAIR AND SURVEY

The City would notify the utilities when it’s going to open up a street for any purpose, as it now does. The gas utilities would survey the street and cross streets within 100 feet of the opening. The utility would have to repair any leaks found in the survey. Copies of the survey would go to the DPW, Fire and Police Departments. Before the street is closed up, the utilities would repeat their surveys to ensure no gas leaks remain. After the work is complete, if the City finds leaks the utility would repair them and pay for repair and repaving costs.

ANNUAL MONITORING

The utilities would monitor all repairs and replacements at least once a year using an independent monitoring expert approved by the City, state of the art equipment and best practices, and the results of that monitoring would be reported to the DPW, Fire and Police Departments.

ENFORCEMENT

If a gas leaks recur within 5 years after repair or replacement, utilities would pay $300 for each Grade 1, Grade 2, or Volume Priority leak and $100 for each Grade 3 leak and reimburse the City for the cost of services provided to re-repair the leaks. Utilities would also be fined $300 if they fail to report a leak they know about, and pay the city for its costs.

COMPLIANCE WITH BOSTON RESIDENTS JOBS POLICY

All work performed in detecting and replacing or repairing Pipeline and Infrastructure shall comply with the Boston Residents Jobs Policy.

GAS COMPANY EMPLOYEE SAFETY AND HEALTH

Utilities would report to the DPW, Fire, Police, and Health Departments any incidents requiring work stoppage or medical observation or medical treatment of persons working in or with pipelines or infrastructure where gas is emitted. Utilities would also provide these Departments with the chemical components of the Gas and the concentrations of those components. Samples would be taken from pipeline laterals or more local distribution pipes within the prior year.

SURVEY AND REPLACEMENT OF TREES

Utilities would replace any trees and shrubs that have been damaged or killed by gas that are on public land or land to which the public has access, and would repair leaks or replace leaky infrastructure within 50 feet.

Prior to the planting of any trees or shrubs on public land or land open to public use, utilities would conduct a gas leaks survey and repair leaks or replace leaky infrastructure within 50 feet.

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2 thoughts on “What’s in Boston’s proposed Gas Leak Ordinance?

  1. Sara Driscoll June 23, 2016 / 5:15 pm

    Absolutely terrific clarifying and simplifying for us lay folks…..Thanks very much!….Sara

    On Wed, Jun 22, 2016 at 9:01 PM, Boston Climate Action Network wrote:

    > bcan posted: “PLEASE ATTEND THE JULY 12 HEARING ON BOSTON’S GROUNDBREAKING > GAS LEAK ORDINANCE — noon at City Council chambers, Boston City Hall. If > you can’t attend, call your councilor at 617-635-3040 and urge her/him to > support the ordinance. We need to fix the leak” >

  2. Sara Driscoll June 23, 2016 / 5:21 pm

    Just a really great overview for the lay person to understand the incredible coverage leading to repair and safety that the Ordinance will provide. Thanks very much, ……….Sara D.

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