How the Farmington explosion changed Maine state law

Workers in Panic during natural disaster

On the morning of September 16th, 2019, a big explosion occurred at LEAP Inc. in Farmington, Maine. One firefighter was killed, seven others were injured. Some people said that the blast was so powerful that paper, insulation, and building debris rained on the area, creating what first responders at the scene described as a war zone.

After the accident, a report released by the Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office revealed a propane leak caused the explosion. Apparently, work crews damaged it a week before the incident, whilst they were drilling posts into the ground near the building. According to DOT (U.S. Department of Transportation), this is one of the most significant challenges for safe pipeline operations – damage to an underground pipe caused by accidental digging.

For Farmington, Maine, this tragic incident was a turning point. In response to the explosion, Seth Berry, the House chair of the legislature’s energy, utilities, and technology committee, introduced L.D. 1892 – “An act to make changes to the so-called dig safe law”. The legislation aims to require that underground L.P. lines, like the one affected in Farmington that led to the explosion, be regulated by new “dig safe” laws.
Starting from the spring of 2020, anyone in Maine state planning to dig (even if it’s just in their backyard), is required to notify the 8-1-1 service, and have an expert locate any underground utilities in the suspected area. An additional section to the law is the prohibition of digging in the vicinity of certain underground utility lines, now including L.P. lines. Although a small price to pay in regard to recent events, but an act that will add additional red tape to an already bureaucratic industry. And yet, the legislature’s energy, utilities, and technology committee don’t see this as a hurdle, as they believe it is a matter of time until innovative technologies in the utilities-locating sector make the marking of facilities an easy task.

This is exactly where the technology developed by 4M Analytics comes into play. The company’s mapping platform provides complete, accurate, and up to date subsurface infrastructure cloud-based maps. Thus, enabling anyone with the need to dig to be able to do it safely.

Clearly, when it comes to excavation strikes, whether in gas pipes or other utilities, Maine’s legislation is doing its best to protect its community. And with 4M Analytics technology, there is no need to see this as additional red tape, but as a moral standard that saves lives.

Like this article? Share it.

Recent blog posts

Go to Blog

4M Utility Strategy Podcast Episode 6: Geoff Zeiss

Geoff Zeiss on the state of utility locating and the future of utility mapping around the world

Team 4M
January 13, 2022
Read more
Podcast Episode 5: Gary Huffman

4M Utility Strategy Podcast Episode 5: Gary Huffman

Gary Huffman on how utilities can serve customers smarter, cheaper, and more reliably

Team 4M
December 14, 2021
Read more
Podcast Episode 2: Steaphan MacAulay

4M Utility Strategy Podcast Episode 2: Steaphan MacAulay

We talk surveying and advanced technology with Steaphan MacAulay on our second episode

Team 4M
December 5, 2021
Read more
Think we can help you?

Let's talk

and see how we can shine some light on your utility strategy.


About Us


Key Benefits

Data Partnership Manager
Office Admin
Data Engineering Team Lead
Brand Marketing Designer
Full Stack Team Lead
Data Engineer
Geodata Analyst
Geo Analyst
Remote Sensing Researcher
Business Analyst
Backend Tech Lead
Senior DevOps Engineer
Product Manager
Computer Vision Deep Learning Expert
USA Account Executive