SIDNEY — Representatives from Summit Natural Gas of Maine presented their plan to lay 46,000 feet of pipe in order to expand their service and infrastructure and fielded concerns and questions from residents during a public meeting Wednesday evening at the Town Office.

The route Summit plans to build will begin at the Trafton Road development in Waterville and that line will run parallel with Interstate 95 until it reaches Pike Industries, an asphalt and aggregated materials company, in Sidney. Construction of the $4.5 million project is expected to begin in the spring and be completed by the end of August.

Residents raised several concerns during the presentation, mainly regarding safety.

John and Laurel Deveau said they’re worried about how Pike Industries’ blasting practices might affect the gas pipeline.

The couple explained that their Blue Ridge Drive home shakes whenever the company conducts a blast, and they asked whether that seismic activity could puncture the line, causing a leak.

Rick Bellemar, who deals with quality assurance at Summit, said Summit and Pike Industries have stipulated in their contract, which drove Summit’s expansion to Sidney, that whenever a blast is scheduled, Summit will determine whether a representative will be sent to survey the blasting site depending on how close it is to Summit’s gas line.


“Just that they need the notification doesn’t give us a lot of confidence that this won’t disrupt the line,” John Deveau said.

Bellemar tried to assuage their concerns by explaining that maintaining pipe, which in Summit’s case is 8 inches thick and made of plastic, near construction and blasting sites is not out of the norm for a gas company, and he didn’t have any concerns about the proximity to their lines.

He also added that there are blasting companies near their gas lines in Augusta and that the blasting has not caused any problems for them.

Summit’s rocky history of safety violations and gas leaks also came up during the meeting.

In 2016, Summit was fined $307,000 for a major gas leak that was described as potentially “catastrophic” at a shopping plaza in Augusta and for other safety violations that dated to 2013 and 2014 construction, which included improper installations, having unqualified employees and failing to locate underground facilities.

In 2015, the Maine Public Utilities Commission required Summit to inspect and replace faulty equipment on transmission and residential distribution lines that contractors had installed incorrectly.


One Sidney resident asked whether those problems have been solved.

Bellemar said Summit has made a lot of changes to address past errors.

“We have made mistakes in the past. Now we have more oversight than we have ever had. We have a Summit inspector with every construction crew all day and all the time,” Bellemar said. “We want to make sure we’re getting quality work and everything is safe.”

Representatives used the rest of the presentation to explain the logistics of installing meters and service lines at residential homes and commercial spaces and how their natural gas pipeline works in general.

Emily Higginbotham — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @EmilyHigg

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.