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Hazards of old natural-gas pipes spur upgrades

Date:
October 28, 2015
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Millions of residents across the US rely on natural gas to heat their homes, stoves and showers. But leaks along the thousands of miles of pipeline that deliver the fuel are a costly -- and sometimes deadly -- problem. A new article examines what's being done to fix it and which locales are lagging behind.
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Millions of residents across the U.S. rely on natural gas to heat their homes, stoves and showers. But leaks along the thousands of miles of pipeline that deliver the fuel are a costly -- and sometimes deadly -- problem. An article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) examines what's being done to fix it and which locales are lagging behind.

Matt Davenport, an associate editor at C&EN, notes that gas leaks are a concern for three major reasons. One is that the primary component of natural gas is methane, a potent greenhouse gas when released into the atmosphere. Another reason is that leaks cost customers -- to the tune of $2 billion in 2013, according to one estimate. And third, natural gas can create deadly hazards. One explosion in a Pennsylvania town killed five people in 2011.

In response, the federal Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration called for states to speed up their pipe replacement programs. Some of the natural gas infrastructure dates back to the late 19th century. Currently, most states and the District of Columbia are working toward that goal, but with variable results. Vermont has completed its upgrades whereas New York's urban updates could take another 20 to 50 years to finish.

More information can be found at: http://cen.acs.org/articles/93/i42/Improving-Infrastructure-Cut-Methane-Emissions.html


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Materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


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American Chemical Society. "Hazards of old natural-gas pipes spur upgrades." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 October 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151028130848.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2015, October 28). Hazards of old natural-gas pipes spur upgrades. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151028130848.htm
American Chemical Society. "Hazards of old natural-gas pipes spur upgrades." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151028130848.htm (accessed May 23, 2017).

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