The Beacon Hill Civic Association board of directors voted unanimously during its Nov. 9 meeting to file the following complaint with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities concerning reported gas leaks on Temple Street:
The Beacon Hill Civic Association (“BHCA”) now submits this complaint because of our serious concern about the health and safety of the residents of Temple Street on Beacon Hill in Boston because of recently reported natural gas leaks along that street from gas lines owned and maintained by National Grid getting into people’s homes. We also are concerned as well about the recently reported loss of many trees on Temple Street as a result of natural gas leaking from gas lines owned and maintained by National Grid on Temple Street.
The BHCA is aware of complaints from the residents of Temple Street that have been made to National Grid about leaking natural gas killing trees along Temple Street and about leaking natural gas getting into private homes along Temple Street. Of the sixteen 16 tree pits existing on Temple Street, it has been reported that only two healthy trees remain on the street at this time. At least three of the trees that were removed by the City of Boston in 2018 reportedly had methane in the root zone, and today reportedly five additional tree pits along Temple Street have elevated methane levels.
It has been reported to the BHCA that several unhealthy trees are directly adjacent to the underground gas lines that supply natural gas to private residences and public fixtures along Temple Street, natural gas that is supplied by National Grid. It has also been reported to the BHCA, that in 2019, air samples were taken from inside private residences along Temple Street and it was found that there were elevated methane levels (6 to 8 times higher than ambient level) in two homes.
It is our understanding that although National Grid has acted to vent natural gas that had accumulated under Temple Street at least two times in 2019, it has been reported that elevated methane levels continue to be found in tree pits and in private homes along Temple Street. The BHCA believes that this situation must be remedied immediately.
The BHCA understands that National Grid’s previous repair efforts along Temple Street have been woefully inadequate to prevent natural gas from leaking from National Grid’s underground natural gas lines, as has been reported by the residents of Temple Street. Therefore, the BHCA believes that National Grid needs to do the following to remedy the potentially dangerous situation on Temple Street:
1) National Grid needs to replace the main natural gas lines that exist on Temple Street;
2) National Grid needs to replace the secondary natural gas lines that exist on Temple Street running from the main natural gas lines to private homes and other buildings along Temple Street; and
3) National Grid needs to replace the secondary natural gas lines that exist on Temple Street running from the main natural gas lines to the historic gas lamp fixtures along Temple Street.