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May 9, 2011 (All day)
WMUR.com

So how safe is the Granite State when it comes to natural gas? The New York Times ranks New Hampshire in the top five states when it comes to holding gas companies accountable.

...Right now 150 miles of gas pipe in New Hampshire is in need of replacement. “We have bare steal in the ground, there's no protection, there's no coating, there's no cathotic protection put on it," said Knepper. On the New Hampshire Seacoast alone, 40 miles of aging pipe needs replacing. Unitil expects to have that done in 7 years. “In the older cities where gas was provided first, if you look in downtown Portsmouth, in the Portsmouth area, that's the oldest infrastructure that we have in the ground so we have a larger concentration, so that's where the most of it is,” said Christopher LeBlanc, Unitil’s Gas Operations Director.

...New Hampshire also has the lowest number of natural gas incidents nationwide. Like one in 2005 in Hampton, most are not from pipe failure. In the Hampton case a construction worker ruptured a gas line while tearing up a street with an asphalt-grinding machine. “The number one cause for emergency gas leaks for Unitil and in New Hampshire is third party damages, its homeowners, construction companies digging and the number one way to prevent third party damages is call before you dig," said LeBlanc. State law requires anyone doing any type of digging to call 811 before they dig.

Gas lines statewide are constantly being checked. Unitil said it uses equipment to find the tiniest of leaks before they become a problem. “We are always are monitoring our system and we replace the riskiest pipes first," said LeBlanc.

To read the full article, click here.

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