Doctor says natural gas from proposed compressor could ignite

By Jessica Trufant, The Patriot Ledger
October 23, 2017 

WEYMOUTH – A local doctor working with residents fighting a proposed 7,700-horsepower natural-gas compressor station in North Weymouth said his rough analysis shows even small releases of natural gas could create flammable conditions on the Fore River Bridge.

“Doesn’t this matter? Can’t we have (the experts) look at this?” Dr. Curtis Nordgaard said Monday night at the Fore River Clubhouse in Quincy. “I can create under seemingly reasonable conditions results that show that this is a possible risk, and this is something that should be looked at further.”

Several dozen South Shore residents attended a presentation by Nordgaard and the Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station about information they say is absent from Algonquin Gas Transmission’s air report to the state regarding blowdowns – releases of natural gas often used to relieve pressure in pipelines.

State Reps. James Murphy, D-Weymouth and Joan Meschino, D-Hull, and state Sen. Walter Timilty, D-Milton, attended the meeting, along with officials from Weymouth and Hingham.

The residents and Nordgaard have conducted independent air-quality testing in their fight against the compressor station that Algonquin, a subsidiary of Spectra Energy-Enbridge, wants to build on the banks of the Fore River. Nordgaard, a pediatrician from Newton who practices in Dorchester and sees many South Shore patients, has been leading the testing for the past year.

Nordgaard said Algonquin did not adequately study the consequences of blowdowns. The company is not required to release blowdowns through smoke stacks, meaning the gas and chemicals could be released at ground level. Residents have questioned whether natural gas from a blowdown could ignite from static or vehicles crossing the Fore River Bridge, directly adjacent to the proposed site.

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