The town has concluded that Columbia Gas was responsible for the gas leak that took place outside St. Augustine's School two weeks ago.

Officials say the company mistakenly marked the gas line as inactive, when in fact it was active, which led to the town's contractor — Revoli Construction — hitting an active gas main.

"It has been concluded that Revoli Construction struck an active gas line because the line was not identified correctly by Columbia Gas," Town Manager Andrew Flanagan said during Monday night's Select Board meeting.

On Sept. 15, Revoli Construction was working on a water main outside St. Augustine's School around 11 a.m. when workers struck a Columbia Gas gas main on Chestnut Street, resulting in the evacuation of not only St. Augustine's School, but homes and businesses in the area.

No one was injured in the incident, which took place two days after the two-year anniversary of the Merrimack Valley gas disaster, according to Andover police.

Columbia Gas has accepted responsibility for the Merrimack Valley gas explosions that hit Andover, North Andover and Lawrence on Sept. 13, 2018, which killed a teenager, injured hundreds, and left residents without heat and/or hot water for months.

In March, Columbia Gas pleaded guilty in federal court to causing the gas disaster and was sold to Eversource as part of a deal to avoid criminal prosecution.

Eversource is set to take over the company Sept. 30, but its presence in the area is a continued concern for some local officials.

"Something like this is obviously not one thing, it's a systematic failure," said Select Board member Alex Vispoli.

He added, "I don't think we can accept another failure by Columbia Gas that endangered the safety of a school population. Thank God nothing happened, but it certainly endangered those people and those students at that school."

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