Boston: Snapshot of natural gas leaks
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One of the nation’s oldest major cities, Boston’s aging natural gas pipes are prone to corrosion and leaks.
- How many leaks: Our readings indicated an average of about one leak for each mile we drove.
- Utility: We mapped areas serviced by National Grid, a shareholder owned gas and electric company serving areas of New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, which provides gas to most of Boston.
- Pipe materials: Nearly 45% of the pipes are made from cast iron or other corrosive and leak-prone materials.
- Age of pipes: More than half of the pipes are more than 50 years old.
- Dates mapped: Cars with air sensors took readings from March through June 2013. This map represents a snapshot in time and may not reflect current leaks due to repairs or other changes.
- Progress: In June 2014, Governor Patrick signed a strong bill to accelerate detection and repair of leaks that pose safety threats. This begins a process to plan and fund long-term pipeline upgrades, which was key to Indianapolis’ success.
Explore Boston map
Most leaks don’t pose an immediate threat to safety or health, but some can. We have shared this data with National Grid.
If you ever smell gas, or have any reason to suspect a problem, experts say to immediately exit the building or area, then call the authorities. For information specific to National Grid, see their safety page.More about why leaks are a problem »