Oct 062006

For over a year, there’s been this occasional scent of natural gas outside our house. At first it was only very rarely, and not very strong, but it’s gradually gotten worse. When we first noticed it, the gas company (Atmos) sent someone out who said it was a trace of unburned gas in our furnace exhaust, so we replaced the furnace and the problem seemed to go away. For a while.

When it came back, it rapidly got worse. Everyone on our street can smell it, and it’s almost always there, unless there’s a brisk wind. People have been calling the gas company to complain, some of them repeatedly.

A couple of months ago, they finally came out and found a leak in an underground pipeline, and they marked the street to indicate where the leak is. Then they said, “This one isn’t too bad. We have lots of them worse than this. We should have it taken care of in a year or so.”

Are you freaking kidding me? It’s a gas leak, you morons!

The fellow across the street (in whose yard this leak apparently is) called the fire department, which came out earlier this week, and they said that a year is totally in violation of the law, and that Atmos has 30 days to fix it or face fines.

The problem is that it is in fact true that there are lots of leaks around town, over a dozen of which are apparently worse than ours, and odds are apparently against it getting fixed within that 30 day timeframe.

That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, knowing that a company that pumps explosive gases through my neighborhood doesn’t have enough manpower to, you know, keep the stuff in the pipes where it belongs!

As time passes the problem seems to be growing worse; the smell gets stronger and stronger, and is detectable farther and farther away from the telltale yellow “X” painted on the curb across the street from my house.

I’m less than enthusiastic about raising my daughter in a place where natural gas leaks are apparently so commonplace that nobody bothers to do anything about them.

 Posted by at 7:06 PM

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