Portland natural gas firm accused of not inspecting lines

Posted Sept. 21, 2011, at 12:05 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — According to the federal government’s pipeline safety agency, the Portland Natural Gas Transmission System has failed to inspect its 143-mile transmission line.

The pipeline’s operator is required to inspect the entire line from the air once a week to search for evidence of leaks, and do quarterly inspections in spots where the pipeline crosses roads.

A warning letter was issued on Aug. 22 based on an inspection of the pipeline’s records at its Windham office and interviews with employees last fall.

The pipeline is 24 inches in diameter and runs from the Canadian border to Westbrook, carrying natural gas from Canada to Maine and elsewhere.

A spokesman at Bangor Gas said Wednesday morning that it requires routine inspections on its 729 miles of pipeline.