Partnership in the Aftermath of Gas Explosions: Assisting Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover, Massachusetts Communities

Partnership with our clients has always been the foundation of our culture at EP. That philosophy has never been more necessary and appropriate than today, as we undertake perhaps the most intense and time-sensitive assignment in our firm’s history – assisting Lawrence, Andover and North Andover in managing their recovery in the aftermath of the gas explosions of September 13.

80 fires, 8,600 customers out of gas service, some 50 miles of gas lines needing replacement in busy residential and commercial neighborhoods, and winter is coming. Within several days, all three public works departments were stressed to the breaking point and collectively reached out to EP for assistance in tracking and documenting reconstruction efforts, and in safeguarding their vital infrastructure systems – particularly water, sewer, stormwater, roads and sidewalks.

Having recently provided long-term emergency management services for major sewer failures in Plymouth and Nantucket, EP’s senior engineering professionals were familiar with the basic concerns and focal points for impacted communities and their public works staffs when disaster strikes. We immediately assembled a response crew of 10 senior engineering program managers and experienced field engineers and were integrating with the community leaders, public works staffs, and gas company representatives in only two days.

With more than 200 construction crews mobilized to engage in reconstruction efforts, it has been essential to compile all relevant GIS mapping and asset layers and equip every response team member with the latest GPS equipped tablets to track and document daily activities and communicate progress with all parties. Particular emphasis is placed on keeping our clients up to date throughout the day, continuously refreshing the data base and flagging locations where the public works assets are being impacted. This then allows the community leaders to provide accurate information to the public as needed. The most common threats to the municipal infrastructure are where gas repair crews are likely to encounter water and sewer services, many of which are unmapped in some areas. It is essential that damaged services and pipelines be repaired properly.

At EP, we could not be more proud of our ability to respond on a moment’s notice and to provide a sustained partnership with our clients and all response parties in overcoming the extreme challenges faced by the entire region. We look forward to the day when a sense of normalcy is returned to the residents of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.

Written By: Paul F. Gabriel, P.E.
President and Founding Partner
Environmental Partners Group, Inc.

For additional information, Click Here for an article published by Engineering News-Record.