Bishop gas-leak taggers, October 2018Bishop gas-leak taggers are happy to let you know about a neighborhood danger.

Torrential downpours Saturday, Oct. 27, did not stop Arlington’s Mothers Out Front and its volunteers from tagging the town’s known gas leaks, now estimated at 215, up from 177 just two years ago.

mothers out front

Many leaks have been fixed, but new ones keep popping up, and so the group's work goes on.

“The effort went well,” group member Anne Wright said of the weekend-long effort. Apart from the rain, only minor technical glitches slowed volunteers – for example, having to re-cut the twine to get the correct lengths to go around some telephone poles.

Because the team effort is decentralized, Mothers Out Front could not pinpoint the exact number of taggers last weekend, but Wright estimated that seven teams each had four people, so at least 28 total participated.

Here is amap from 2017 showing the group's progress at the time >> 

The yellow pins show unrepaired gas leaks, and red pins show repaired leaks – all in 2017.

Motivating the group are environmental concerns and – in the light ofMerrimack Valley explosions on Sept. 13 – public safety. Tags placed at the leaks include information about how to contact the gas company.

The National Grid lockout of union workers, continuing since June 26, has also raised the profile of the safety issue.

Smell a leak? Make the call

In the light of these concerns, Mothers Out Front encourages everyone to report all gas leaks and urge that they be fixed.

To detect leaks, the Town of Arlington recently bought a Gas Sentry System, a portable gas detection tool. Arlington's Tree Warden will use it to avoid planting new street trees near gas leaks, which can kill trees by starving their roots of oxygen. 

Group members also use their noses. "When I walk through the center, it stinks," Wright said.

Arlington’sMothers out Frontbegan this detective work two years ago. The group is part of a national grass-roots organization that raises awareness about the dangers of natural gas, a potent driver of climate change. The group also advocates for a swift transition from fossil fuels to clean, safe renewable energy. Together, the community can make change, members of the group believe.

If you smell a leak, call 1-800-233-5325.

The group takes a position about gas in our neighborhoods. While National Grid calls natural gas clean and safe, Mother Out Front disagrees. A flier says:

“We are mothers, grandmothers, and caretakers working together for a safe and healthy climate for our children. ACT NOW!

“Call 781-907-1000 or TWEET @NationalGridUS Tell National Grid to #FixBigGasLeaks”

Join Mothers Out Front by emailing at

For more information,click here >> 

Supporting this effort, an Arlington group supporting a sustainable future in town since 1999.

2018 guest column,Anne Wright, Brucie Moulton of Mothers Out Front >> 
Arlington gas leaksreported to National Grid, 2015 >>
National GridFAQ on gas leaks >>  
Sept. 18, 2018:Gas explosions put spotlight on National Grid lockout, safety
June 5, 2018:Tree removals denied as Town Hall Garden rehab begins
June 11, 2018:Overnight work sliced off trees killed by gas

This news announcement was published Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018, and updated to a news summary by YourArlington freelance writer Susan Gilbert on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018.