To the editor:
A special meeting inquiry on Aug. 8 by the city council into the April 27 evacuation of seven homes due to a dangerous natural gas leak on Torrey Street was proof our councilors are doing their job to ensure the safety and well being of our community.
The purpose of the special meeting as expressed by Councilor Todd Kobus was not to assign blame, but rather to determine if our standard operating procedures in the city are appropriate or require revision to ensure safety with regard to work performed by our departments in close proximity to what appears to be a failing gas line infrastructure in Attleboro.
Information shared by Kobus included very concerning data from a Service Quality Report (“SQ Report”) he received from the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. The 2018 SQ Report shows that 103 Grade 1 and 2 leaks were reported in Attleboro. Grade 1 leaks are the most dangerous, and required repairs are to be made immediately to eliminate dangerous levels of gas from posing a significant risk of danger to residents through exposure to gas or explosion.
The report also shows comparative data with other communities in Massachusetts, and Attleboro is ranked Number 7 for the most Grade 1 and 2 gas leaks.
With the city planning to replace 8,880 linear feet of water mains on Read Street with an additional 5,200 linear feet on Steere Street also planned for replacement, it’s imperative that our city as a whole work together to ensure that we don’t experience another tragedy as we did in 1998 on George Street, or worse to a scale of the Merrimack Valley gas explosions last year.
I was very surprised by the low attendance at this very important special meeting. As residents, we should all be very concerned about the potential for gas leaks in our neighborhoods. We should be demanding answers to what happened on Torrey Street.
I commend councilors Kobus and Jay DeLisio for raising this concern to the public at large, and exercising powers granted to the council via the city charter to conduct inquiries. When the inquiry concludes, I hope for a unified response to our community from all departments and city officials demonstrating their commitment to our public safety and security.