Gov. Charlie Baker took a victory lap Saturday touting the Merrimack Valley’s economic recovery after September’s deadly gas explosions — but state records investigated by the Herald show that months before the region was rocked by fire, the state’s crumbling infrastructure and gas leaks made the blasts almost inevitable.
The study revealed the state had more than 34,000 reported gas leaks in 2017. Almost 7,500 of those were considered “Grade 1” leaks — the highest classification, representing an “existing or probable hazard to persons or property” and requiring repair “as immediately as possible.”
“We’re literally sitting on bombs,” said Audrey Schulman, executive director of Cambridge-based HEET, a nonprofit that helps residents save energy in their homes and lower gas emissions. Her organization maps gas leaks across Massachusetts using DPU data. “The pipes in Massachusetts are past their well-use dates.” (read more)
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