BHCA Community Corner

Massachusetts is leaking – gas

Gas leaks on Mt. Vernon Street

Gas leaks on Mt. Vernon Street

And the Beacon Hill Civic Association Green Committee wants to spread the word, according to co-chair Eve Waterfall. The aging infrastructure for supplying natural gas to our boilers, stoves and gas lights allows methane gas to leak into the soil and air. When the leak is in or near a building, National Grid gives it top priority to avoid injury to people or damage to property. But lower priority leaks often go unrepaired. The legacy of these continuous gas leaks includes dying trees, poor air quality, global warming and a big bill to consumers. Under current law, rate payers pick up the annual $90 million tab for the leaked gas, giving the utility little incentive to make repairs.

Fortunately, increased awareness of this issue, spearheaded by groups like H.E.E.T. and Mothers Out Front, is leading to action. In early December, volunteers from the BHCA, Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay and Mothers Out Front will distribute leaflets and door tags in the vicinity of known low priority leaks. Residents are encouraged to contact their representatives to support updates to infrastructure and coordination of repairs with other agencies. More information is available at and

Why do methane gas leaks matter?

Methane in the soil reduces oxygen that trees need and attracts bacteria to their roots.

Methane contributes to smog, which exacerbates asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

Methane is a major contributor to climate change.

Methane can result in explosions causing fires and injury to people.

Utilities are charging us for the leaked methane gas.

Source: Mothers Out Front

Did You Know?

The BHCA deals with well over 400 parking permits a year, estimates BHCA executive director Patricia Tully. While contractors must initially get their permits from Boston Transportation Department, the BHCA approves all extensions. This procedure is done so that residents can better understand and share concerns with contractors working in the neighborhood.

A Piece of the Past

While Cambridge Street evolved from a 17th century cow path, Charles Street is much younger. Created at the turn of the century from gravel and dirt carted by railroad from the crest of Beacon Hill, it was 55 feet wide and connected to what was then called the West Boston Bridge to Cambridge. In 1920, the street was widened by 10 feet but within 10 years it overflowed with traffic as the new ‘engines of death’ roared down the street.

Get involved

Our committees comprise volunteers working together from all over the neighborhood to assure that we all have a good quality of life here. We welcome you to jump aboard.

Upcoming meetings:

Friday, October 25:  Membership & Events Committee Meeting at 74 Joy Street, 8:00 am

Save the date for these BHCA upcoming events:

Halloween on the Hill – Monday, October 31

Town Meeting on Homelessness – Thursday, November 10

Garlands & Green Holiday Fundraiser – Wednesday, November 16th

Holiday Decorating Days – Saturday & Sunday, December 3-4

Winter Gala – Saturday, February 4

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