Daniel Hickey and John Caughlin, Arizona pipeline safety inspectors from the Arizona Corporation Commission Pipeline Safety Section will provide emergency aid to Massachusetts after a series of natural gas line explosions destroyed pipeline service in Merrimack Valley.
Hickey and Caughlin will work to support gas line restoration efforts.
On September 13, 2018, a series of explosions occurred in Merrimack Valley, Massachusetts killing one, destroying homes, and leaving 11,000 households and 800 businesses without gas service. The cause was determined to be excessive pressure in natural gas lines. Today, crews are working to replace 44.5 miles of mainline gas pipes, replacing more than 6,000 service lines that connect homes and businesses to the mainline pipe. Gas service remains shut off to most of the 7,740 gas meters in the area.
The two Arizona inspectors will assist crews in pipeline inspections through November 24. Their participation will be coordinated through an Emergency Management Assistance Compact with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. The pair will join other emergency response crews to complete a team of up to eight certified inspectors each week.
Participating pipeline safety inspectors must be qualified under Code of Federal Regulations 49 CFR 192 and have completed two training and qualification courses certified by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.