Vt. Gas snuffs flame in Middlebury — for now

MIDDLEBURY — Vermont Gas Systems on Friday said it had temporarily extinguished its “controlled flare” at its Middlebury gate station near the intersection of Route 7 and Exchange St., citing community concerns over the noise emanating from the massive flame.
The flame — more than 15-feet tall — was visible to passersby on Tuesday and Thursday. It’s related to an ongoing inspection of the interior of the new Addison Natural Gas Project pipeline that runs from Colchester to Middlebury. The inspection uses a smart tracking tool that travels through the entire 41-mile line and results in controlled flare at the end of the line. This work is part of regular maintenance on the pipeline and after this initial inspection would typically be done every five to seven years going forward, according to Vermont gas spokesperson Beth Parent.
“We had two very successful runs on Tuesday and Thursday, however, during our work we heard from the community and surrounding homes and businesses that the noise of the flare was disruptive,” Parent said. “We have decided to pause our inspection for now so we can investigate if there are additional ways to mitigate noise and disruption. We appreciate all of our towns, law enforcement, first responders and landowners who have been working with us. Our plan is to reschedule the inspection for a later date and will let the community knows as soon as plans are developed.”
The Addison Independent’s Tuesday Facebook post about then burn, which included a video, had drawn 43 comments by Friday, some of them complaints about the noise.
“It was incredibly loud and disruptive to our farm,” wrote Jennifer Kennett. “There was no warning, and no communication over this until we called and reported the issue. It was like standing under a jet engine off and on all day.”
“You can hear it loud and clear in the video,” wrote Holly Harrison Doyle in another poster. “Who would want to listen to that?”

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