Weeks of Leaks: Nat. Grid says larger fix needed on Brighton St.

Residents in the neighborhood of Brighton St. who have grown weary of the smell of natural gas wafting past are going to have to hold their noses a bit longer: an earlier “fix” by utility National Grid did not stop a leak that cropped up in December, and the company now says that it will have to replace replacement of around 200 feet of gas line on Brighton Street to stop it.

Blogging Belmont reported on the leak earlier in January, at which point National Grid had stationed a truck to “watch” the natural gas leak and assuage residents concerned about the smell. More than a month later, the truck is gone but the leak — noticeably — is not.

National Grid media relations representative David Graeves says that the company repaired initial, “low grade” leaks but concluded that a larger repair was necessary to properly address the problem. He said the company was planning to replace around 200 feet of 16″ gas line along Brighton Street, close to the intersection of Brighton and Flanders Rd.

But National Grid’s claims to have fixed the leak don’t pass the “sniff” test — you can clearly smell natural gas leaking in the vicinity of the original leak. They also don’t jive with the Belmont Fire Dept. Dispatcher Pendergas, who said that the Department is receiving calls every day about the leak, prompting visits to the Brighton St. location in response. He says those reports started weeks ago, and have not abated, even after National Grid claimed to have fixed the problem. As it stands, BFD reports those calls to National Grid, but has no authority to force the utility to take action to fix it.

Graves of National Grid said that the company has been in the area completing its engineering studies and maintaining an onsite presence to deal with any other leaks that arise. He said work on the replacement gas main would begin this week — weather permitting.