If you see an unmarked rental van parked in your neighborhood with two people dressed in green fluorescent vests and white helmets, wielding strange sticks attached to grey boxes, do not be alarmed. They are National Grid employees checking for natural gas leaks.
Such was the case this morning when I questioned the actions of the strange-looking pair poking their sticks around Grove Street. “We get that all the time” one of them stated as National Grid does not have enough marked vehicles to go around.
When they do find a leak, as they did this morning, it is immediately called in to a repair unit who take action. Within minutes another National Grid vehicle and a backhoe soon appeared to repair a gas leak detected in front of 68 Grove Street. They told me it was a minor leak that did not need evacuation. Signs were placed and traffic was re-routed through the parking lot next to my house. All was going well until a nosey Amsterdam Water Department employee parked his vehicle in the entrance to the parking lot blocking traffic from going past the work site. Both employees left the vehicle to check on the work that the National Grid employees were doing. I guess they were checking to see that no out of title work was being performed. They finally got back in their vehicle appearing angry as they got on the radio to call for “backup”. The white Water Department vehicle left and two yellow Amsterdam DPW vehicles showed up. One I guess was for moral support because the vehicle and two City employees just watched from the parking lot detour while the driver of the other vehicle got out and supervised the National Grid employees repair the gas main.
Now I know why the CIty needs a fleet of one hundred vehicles! It looks as if they just drive around the City talking to each other on the radio, looking for things to poke their noses into.
While National Grid was here, I had them check the gas meter in my basement where I have on occasion smelled gas. They did find a small leak in the gas main going to my meter which they promptly puttied, taped and scheduled an appointment for next week to repair properly.
National Grid was back on Monday and Tuesday to repair the gas leak in front of 68 Grove Street. Apparently the leak was more extensive, requiring another excavation on the street. This time National Grid worked without interruption from City DPW or the Water Department.
National Grid’s evening workers repaired my gas leak and installed a new bracket and gas meter. I was impressed by the job they did as well as the professionalism and courtesy they displayed.