National Grid replaces pipe on Swart Hill

Monday, September 26, 2016 - Updated: 7:13 AM

By EMILY DREW

Recorder News Staff

TOWN OF AMSTERDAM -- National Grid has begun construction along Swart Hill Road that will result in a new pipeline and the ability for some residents to hook up to natural gas, a service previously unavailable.

After locals have complained about smelling gasoline in the area, National Grid decided it was time to replace the aged pipe that connects Swart Hill Road to the main gas line beneath Route 5, according to National Grid spokesperson Nate Stone. Construction began earlier this week and should take a little more than a month to complete.

Stone said the local fire department contacted National Grid several times after it received calls from local residents.

"We were getting some calls about odors of gas. The fire department had called us just to see what was going on," he said.

Town Supervisor Thomas DiMezza said he knew National Grid was doing work on Swart Hill Road. He said he has reported the smell himself to the fire department and was told the issue had been going on for some time.

"It's been going on for a long time. If you drove through that area, you'd smell a strong odor," DiMezza said.

National Grid crews went out to investigate the pipe and decided it was time to retire the line, Stone said. He said the steel pipe is more than 90 years old and has deteriorated over time beneath the ground. It had been used to connect only the nursing home on Swart Hill Road to the main line on Route 5.

"That's when we start to investigate our pipe up there and just realized the pipe needed to be replaced, it was time," Stone said.

About 6,000 feet of the aging pipe will be replaced with new plastic, from where Swart Hill Road connects with the main line on Route 5 to the nursing home about a mile up the road.

Crews started work last week and are working with the state Department of Transportation, as crews will have to dig beneath Route 5 to get to the main line. Construction should take about six weeks.

Stone said there will not be any loss of service.

He said the project in the long run will be positive, since it will allow National Grid to offer hookups to other residents along Swart Hill Road if they choose to opt into the service that was previously not available to them.

"The good thing about it was before the pipe going up there only fed the nursing home, but now that we're putting in the new pipe, we can actually hook up customers, gas customers, if they want to going up that hill where we couldn't do that before," he said.

Stone said there was no danger with the gas smell and there were no leads in the line. He said it is standard procedure for fire departments to contact National Grid when residents report an odor.

"It's standard procedure if someone smells gas," he said. "It happens all over the place, even when there's not leaks."