Crews at a natural gas compressor station in Weymouth could vent natural gas into the community several times during the first week of operations at the site set to begin on Friday.
A spokesperson for Enbridge, the energy company that built the controversial facility, said Tuesday that the process to place the compressor into service will officially start on Dec. 4 after federal regulators gave the final stamp of approval last week.
Thatprocess will involve "controlled, planned venting of natural gas" to remove any air in the station's pipes, according to the spokesperson, Max Bergeron.
"The controlled venting of natural gas may occur intermittently between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on December 4 through December 11, 2020," Bergeron said in an email. "The controlled venting of natural gas is a safe and routine procedure, and the gas which is vented will naturally dissipate. Algonquin Gas Transmission representatives will be on site during this work, and monitors that constantly measure the levels of natural gas will be used."
Community leaders as well as environmental and public health groups have battled the proposed facility for years, but a federally ordered pause in operations at the site following two emergency shutdowns ended after about seven weeks.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station group that has been at the center of the opposition campaign announced it would mark the start of compressor service with an "Elf effigy" in Kings Cove Park near the facility.
"This art installation seeks to collect three hundred and ten Elves of all kinds within the park by December 20," the group wrote in a press release. "Each Elf will represent ten children who live in the immediate area of the toxic compressor station. The Gathering will culminate in a special service to be held on December 20th beginning at 3:00 PM."