November 19, 2017

Letters to the Editor

Shallow depth of pipeline dangerous

Vermont Gas Systems has circumvented regulations with reference to burying pipelines at least 4 feet deep (“Gas pipeline found closer to surface than ordered,” Observer, July 6). In 18 locations, the company’s pipe is less than that depth, yet Vermont Gas states that this is immaterial.

In Vermont, with its cold winters, the frost line can go down to 4.5 feet. When I built my deck, I put my cement footings that depth to avoid frost heaves. In the case of a gas line, frost heaves present a potential disaster.

In one area, the pipeline goes through a swampy area. This presents an even more dangerous situation. With all the water contained in a swamp, the freezing will be more pronounced and more likely to rupture a pipe.

Imagine a pipe segment separating due to a frost heave, causing a break in the line. Add to that a pipeline situated under power lines, as is the case near Chaloux Lane in Williston. A bit of stray current, or an electrical storm in that area and this area would become charred history. This is a high-pressure line and the release of a vast amount of gas in a short period of time would be certain to produce a conflagration.

It is distressing that the Public Service Board has seen fit to overlook theses supposedly minor variations in the original plans. Ethics and public safety apparently do not matter when they impact the profitability of a project. I guess with what we have for a role model in Washington D.C., I should not find this surprising

Julie Bonanno

Williston

Pipeline standards are there for a reason

I read the article in the Williston Observer about Vermont Gas System’s failure to bury the Addison gas pipeline the required 4 feet deep (“Gas pipeline found closer to surface than ordered” Observer, July 6). I am dismayed that the director of the Department of Public Service’s Advocacy Division said the pipeline is buried deep enough to meet federal and state safety standards. The standards require that the pipeline be buried a minimum of 4 feet. The article says some of the pipe is buried 3 feet deep and at places buried only fifteen inches!

Building foundation footings are required to be at least 4 feet deep to get below the frost line — sometimes 5 feet when the soil may be compacted so the foundations won’t lift. This standard is taken very seriously in the design of buildings and written into the Vermont State Building Code.

Why is there no concern shown about pipelines heaving due to frost, with the potential for much greater loss of life and property?

This is a major infraction of the standard and should not be treated so casually as the consequences are just too dire. The pipeline runs through populated areas and the threat of an explosion due to frost heave rupture is real here in Vermont where the ground moves.

The Advocacy Division would better serve the interests of the public if it performed a full investigation of the depth of the pipe and required Vermont Gas to bury it to the depth of the standards set forth in the contract documents.

The standards are there for a reason. They are not capricious.

Brian F. Forrest

Williston

Grand marshal gratitude

I would like to express my thanks to the Town of Williston for the joy I felt at being the grand marshal at the Fourth of July parade this year.

I felt a bit embarrassed at all the attention, but it was wonderful to drive through Williston to see the waves and smiling faces of all the people lining the parade route. It was especially fun to be followed in the parade by the library’s bookmobile tooting its horn.

Usually I miss the parade entirely because I am busy with the book sale. It was fun to greet Willistonians outside the confines of the Williston Central School gym for a change!

Many thanks to the library trustees for nominating me, to the Friends of the Library who bestowed me with a tiara (which I opted not to wear in the parade!) and to the wonderful staff of the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library for all they do to make Williston a special place.

Barbara Mieder

Williston

Thanks for the ‘stuff’

Thanks to Williston residents for again supporting the Williston Community Food Shelf. During the July Fourth festivities, you kindly “Stuffed the Bus” with 300 pounds of food and you donated $1,100 in cash to us during the parade.

We are very blessed to have such generous neighbors. Together we are making a difference in many lives.

Ginger Morton

Williston Community Food Shelf

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