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National Grid combating uptick of gas leaks in RI

In less than a week, there's been one gas leak after another in Rhode Island. (WJAR)

In less than a week, there's been one gas leak after another in Rhode Island.

Last Wednesday, people in a Pawtucket neighborhood were forced to evacuate after a service line was hit.

On Monday, a contractor accidentally hit a gas line in West Warwick.

And then on Tuesday, a contractor struck a service line in West Greenwich.

NBC 10 News spoke with David Graves, the director of communications in Rhode Island for National Grid, about what’s behind the service hits.

“It appears that most of the gas leaks that we've had in the last week or week or more have been caused by what we call third party incursions,” Graves said. “That's contractors or homeowners who are doing work end up hitting our gas lines either the mains in the street or more typically for homeowners it's the service lines that run from those gas mains to their homes or businesses.”

National Grid said hits to service usually increase during construction season.

“It’s not an exact science,” Graves said. “There are electronic devices that can trace those underground power lines or those underground gas mains, but there are times when contractors may use backhoes, large pieces of equipment that somehow will come in contact accidentally certainly with those underground resources and cause damage.”

NBC 10 asked Graves if contractors are being careful enough. He said, “Well, I don't want to blame anybody but certainly you know- anytime you're digging around a utility, whatever it is, could be gas or electricity, water, anything, you need to be very, very cautious.”

Graves asks people who plan to install an outdoor light post, a fence, or even plant a tree, to call Dig Safe first at 811.

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