PEPPERELL/TOWNSEND — Gas mains leak.
Those utility trucks with the funnels hanging from the front bumper are searching for them.
Massachusetts has three categories of leaks. The severity of the leak determines how quickly the utility company must make repairs, said Alec O’Meara, media relations manager for Unitil.
A Class 1 leak requires immediate action, he said. Usually someone will smell it and call in with the complaint.
A Class 2 leak is less severe and utility companies are required to repair them within a calendar year. This leaves time to coordinate with local highway departments, he said. Monitoring is required for Class 3 leaks.
“We run a very tight system when it comes to leaks,” O’Meara said. Townsend has one Class 2 leak and four Class 3 leaks.
In Pepperell, National Grid is replacing some of the gas mains.
A spokesperson for National Grid, Danielle Williamson, supplied information through email. The company is working on replacing roughly three miles of piping. There are no significant leaks or past history of repair, she wrote.
“Safety is our number one priority,” she wrote. “Every gas system has some level of low grade leaks, and National Grid monitors its system in accordance with state requirements.
The utility company is going to replace mains on Park Street Heald Street to Brookline Street and on Brookline into “Indian Village,” said Highway Superintendent Peter Shattuck.
The Cheyenne Road and Seminole Drive area has steel gas mains installed in the 1960’s, Shattuck said. The new gas mains will be plastic and less subject to corrosion.
Shattuck plans give the Indian Village roads a “facelift” in a few years. The pavement is still settling from when sewer was installed a few years ago, he said.
The highway superintendent provided a caution for homeowners. “If you’re thinking of changing to gas and you’re on the new line, this is the time,” he said. “I won’t let you dig up the road for five years” after the new pavement is laid down.
The gas mains on Heald Street from Park Street to Sheffield Street near the cemetery are a similar age, Shattuck said. He approached National Grid about replacing them this summer.
“I can’t tell you how much I’d like to see that done,” he said.
The road is slated for complete reconstruction in a few years. “It’s in terrible, terrible shape,” he said.
He has not had any confirmation from National Grid about work on Heald Street.