With properly maintained facilities, natural gas is safe. Considering
the number of households and commercial establishments of all kinds that
use NG, the number of accidents and fatalities is small. Gasoline etc
probably have at least as many (BP well blowing up).
Now as far as proper maintenance, I don't understand the use of a 54"
inch main gas line only 3 feet under a residential area. In an
earthquake prone region. I bet that it will turn out that the residents
have warned many times (probably crying wolf too many times, as far as
PG&E was concerned), and that the line was NOT inspected often enough
and recently enough. Wouldn't want to have shares in that company ...
But, mismanagement by 1 company shouldn't condemn the whole concept.
Of course, it is OT, and YMMV!!
Sure it matters. Maybe not to the explosion victims so much but rather
that you seemed to place PG&E at fault for placing the 54" 3 feet under
the community. Can't quote you exactly since you snipped that part out.
Pretty sure they don't put subdivisons, or at least the house
footprints, DIRECTLY on top of major gas transmission lines like that.
I've seen them cut across the corners of subdivisions, but the easement
always said there had to be a clear zone with no permanent structures
directly above, and instant access when needed, for sniffer trucks and
the big yellow things. The pipeline companies try real hard to lay them
out based on 30+ years of undisturbed usage. Almost always they go
through farm fields.
I've never seen a neighborhood distribution line bigger than 6-8 inches
or so. About 15? years ago, this town had a small oopsie, where they
connected a higher-pressure trunk line to the feeder for a neighborhood,
with stepping down the pressure. About a dozen houses lit off, when the
furnaces and water heaters suddenly had 10x the gas volume coming in.
Police and FD had to break out their doomsday book, and call in all 3
shifts, and outside assistance. I think some court cases are still
floating around from that one. Thankfully, nobody got killed. That is
the only mass residential gas fubar I recall around this town- there
were a couple of commercial buildings that tried to launch themselves,
but they turned out to be insurance scams.
That was a natural gas major transmission line too close to the building
(s), not under it/them. There was 1 fatality, but the fault lay with
people digging there, and with inadequate inspection and maintenance. For
details see (on 1 line, with comma):
The lesson is that you should find out what is in the area where you want
to live before moving there.
The pictures seem to show something in the 24" range. It also appears to
be a high pressure transmission line, not a distribution line.
I own some property that has one of those transmission lines crossing it
way back on the property. I heard that some years back it had a blowout
which never ignited, but did blow a 10' crater in the frozen ground (was
winter). They apparently traced the failure to a scrape by a backhoe
tooth when burying the pipeline years earlier.
Some 6.6 residential nat. gas fires and/or explosions (they tend to go
together) per *DAY* (NFPA statistics) may be small relative to the total
number of residential nat. gas installations, but it is unacceptably
high given the many safer alternatives, and at the very least the
availability of inexpensive gas detectors (every RV has one).
A nat. gas transmission line that blew in the northeast (NJ I believe)
was *under* and apartment building. What shit-for-brains allowed that,
and how much were they bribed?
See my other answer - it was NEXT to an apartment building and inadequate
inspection and maintenance was responsible.
Also, I said above that one should examine what might be in the area that
you contemplate moving to.
Perhaps you need to re-think who it is that has the questionable
brains. The gas pipeline you're talking about was NOT under an
apartment building. It didn't even pass through the land the
apartment building was on. It was located hundreds of feet away from
the apartment building in Edison, NJ. While you make it sound like
a mega disaster, this incident resulted in a total of 1 deaths. How
many deaths each year are involved in the alternate fuels that we
commonly use and that would be substituted for NG? For example, if
you look at all the deaths associated with an alternate fuel like
heating oil, including everything from faulty oil burner systems to
traffic fatalities, you aren't going to wind up with a meaningfully
different number of fatalities than the 43 per year from NG.
Also, if NG is so unsafe, why is it that it's widely used around the
world, including many far more regulated places run by progressive
socialist type govts that make themselves out to be very
enlightened? Is there one place in the world that has taken your
suggestion to get rid of it?
I think that is a gross exageration. About 50,000 people die each
year from motor vehicle accidents. That's 2 orders of magnitude more
than those that die from natural gas.
That would be some network of sensors. They would have to be placed
every 20 feet along the side of roads where gas lines run to start.
And subject to rain, salt, slush.... How much do you think that
would cost to install and maintain? And you'd get 1000X false alarms
for every one valid one.
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