Last night, Providence, RI had a scare that no one needs: a massive, high-pressure gas leak. A malfunction happened at the gate station and caused a pipeline to burst a little further down the road. First report was from residents at around 8:15pm, not from National Grid, nor any other entity associated with maintaining the gas infrastructure safety.
All of the news reports out of Providence says a “take station” malfunctioned, but it’s really a gate station: “Gate stations serve three purposes. First, they reduce the pressure in the line from transmission levels (200 to 1,500 pounds) to distribution levels, which range from ¼ pound to 200 pounds. Then an odorant, the distinctive sour scent associated with natural gas, is added, so that consumers can smell even small quantities of gas. Finally, the gate station measures the flow rate of the gas to determine the amount being received by the utility.”
It actually took over 7 HOURS to stop the gas and make repairs. A hunch made me think that possibly Spectra could be involved as I knew they were in that area somewhere already.
A friend and I did some research to find out what company is responsible for that Providence station and pipeline. We settled on Algonquin (Spectra Energy), but hadn’t seen any news reports nor couldn’t get any info from officials sources like the Providence FD. This link I just re-reviewed to include in the blog had been updated, and lo and behold… Spectra Energy... Which is good, because I just laid out my hunch to Gov. Baker in today’s note. I felt like the Unibomber or similar cramming all the paper with my research in the envelope 😐
The reactions on social media mixed with more official reports, displaying the fear and disruption that went on last night:
I was joined today by Ben W. who works with Toxics Action Center. TAC has been a huge help, in the long fight against pipelines in MA (among other things), and has offered to help me with this action, which is GREAT!