Natural Gas Pipeline Incidents in NY Soared in 2011, Led By Alarming Increase in NYC Pipeline FailuresFeb 16th, 2012 | By fjgallagher | Category: Lead Articles, NYC Natural Gas Infrastructure
The number of natural gas pipeline incidents — natural gas leaks or natural gas explosions — in New York City shot up dramatically in 2011, increasing by 400 percent compared to the previous year, according to documents obtained by NaturalGasWatch.org.
According to records obtained from the Pipeline & Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA,) the federal agency charged with regulating natural gas pipelines, there were only two serious or significant incidents in New York City’s natural gas distribution pipelines in 2010. In 2011, that number increased to eight, accounting for nearly half of the distribution pipeline incidents that occurred statewide.
All of the 2011 distribution incidents detailed in the PHMSA records occurred in pipelines operated by the Consolidated Edison Co. of New York.
The increase in New York City pipeline incidents mirrors a similar increase in natural gas pipeline incidents across the state.
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According to PHMSA records, the number of natural gas pipeline incidents that occurred in transmission pipelines throughout the state doubled, from three incidents in 2010 to six incidents in 2011, and the number of incidents related to distribution pipelines more than tripled, from five in 2010 to 18 in 2011.
Four of the six transmission incidents were attributed to pipeline connection or coupling failures, or other equipment failures.
Seven of the distribution pipeline failures were attributed to “miscellaneous or unknown” causes.
A natural gas transmission pipeline moves natural gas from a gathering line or storage center to a distribution center, while a natural gas distribution pipeline moves the product from the distribution center to residential and small business consumers.
The State of New York has 53, 674 miles of natural gas pipeline, which includes about 4,500 miles of natural gas transmission pipelines and more than 47,000 miles of natural gas distribution pipeline.