Bay State Gas Company to Replace Aging Pipelines in West Quad North

In partnership with the Bay State Gas Company, Phillips Academy began a gas line replacement project on Monday in the West Quad North area. The project is scheduled to last until the beginning of October. Bay State Gas Company recommended that the construction be performed out of concern for the gas line system’s age. “Right now, we don’t envision any imminent problem with the infrastructure we have right now. It’s just time to replace it,” said Associate Director of Maintenance and Utilities Carlos Montanez. “The systems down there now are close to 40 to 50 years of age. [The process is] fairly expensive, but they recognize the importance to step up to the plate and to make improvements.” If the gas lines remained untouched, any leaks would be obvious. Natural gas pipes emit an odor if cracked because a specific odor agent is introduced when the lines are laid. “If the line was left in for another 50 years, eventually some of the product might corrode until the point of small leaks,” said Montanez. Montanez said that the construction would not cause any major disruption. He does not anticipate an outage, an expectation made possible by the “beauty of the collaboration” between OPP and Bay State Gas Company. “At most, there might be an hour or hour and a half of outages, but nothing full scale or too disruptive,” said Montanez. The Bay State Gas Company maintains comprehensive involvement in the school’s infrastructure. The company reads the gas meters regularly and examines gas line systems whenever excavations are done on campus. In addition, members of the Bay State Gas Company regularly meet with OPP personnel to discuss what improvements can be made to the school’s gas line system. “It’s a collaborative effort. They want to improve and upgrade their infrastructure and they ask us if there’s a way to strategically do it,” said Montanez. “We have the resources and [Bay State Gas Company] has the manpower…We try to work together and reach an agreement on what sections we need to do. It’s a two to three year process of work.” Due to the recent warm weather, the current gas line replacement project has been proceeding as scheduled. With the project taking place, OPP is planning projects for the upcoming spring and summer. West Quad South may be improved upon next summer, which may be the last improvement work done for the next 50 years.