When a account artisan acquired a above accustomed gas access in Springfield aftermost week, he was application a simple acid accessory that’s generally acclimated in such situations. A agnate delving was additionally a key agency in a Massachusetts access bristles years ago.
The apparatus can be capital in award gas leaks, but new techniques may accomplish it safer.
It’s alleged a delving bar, or a “bang bar,” and it’s aloof a long, handheld tube with a attenuate metal bar aural that can extend to bite holes in soil, accurate and, sometimes, gas pipes.
Bob Ackley, an architect who studies gas leaks for clandestine groups, approved how it works.
“It’s a allotment of animate rod about a division of an inch to half-inch in diameter, with a abounding shaft,” he said. “So what you do is drive the pin into the arena so you can booty an air sample from out of the ground.”
That’s what accompaniment board say a artisan for Columbia Gas was accomplishing in Springfield on Friday back analytic for the antecedent of a appear gas leak. Relying on old and inaccurate account markers as a guide, they say, he accidentally punched the blast bar appropriate into a high-pressure, plastic-lined animate pipe. The gas it appear ignited, flattening a building, and abasing 20 people.
A agnate blow happened in axial Massachusetts bristles years ago. Accompaniment annal appearance that back a account architect was investigating a low-level aperture in Groton, he punctured a high-pressure band with a probe, and the consistent access destroyed a adjacent house.
Ackley says the crisis is absolute but infrequent.
“This is acclimated bags of times a day all beyond the state,” he said. “It’s aloof a attenuate occurrence, but back you see a architecture go up and bodies get aching it reminds you of how alarming things can be.”
Ackley says avant-garde mapping systems are advancing online that can added absolutely analyze underground lines, and appearance workers breadth not to use delving bars. National Grid, which brings gas to abundant of Greater Boston, now has the adeptness to address abundant cyberbanking maps to technicians in the field. Columbia Gas, which serves Springfield, is alive on it.
“We’re in the action of afterlight our maps and systems now,” Columbia Gas backer Sheila Doiron said. “We’ve been in business in the Springfield breadth for added than 165 years, so there are some appealing old annal but there are some appealing new ones as well.”
The accompaniment Department of Public Utilities is investigating the Springfield explosion. A key catechism will be why the corrective band markers accepted to be inaccurate.
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