This Week In Natural Gas Leaks and Explosions – Oct. 15, 2012Oct 15th, 2012 | By fjgallagher | Category: Lead Articles
This Week In Natural Gas Leaks and Explosions is exactly what it sounds like: an aggregation of natural gas leaks and explosions compiled from various media reports from around the country. It is not meant to be comprehensive; a report of that nature would run exceedingly long and try the patience of you, the faithful reader.
That said, let’s get right to it …
A California State Supreme Court Judge ruled that PG&E will have to pay about 55 percent of the estimated $2.2 billion it will cost to upgrade the utility’s natural gas transmission pipelines.
PG&E shareholders will be responsible for about 55 percent of the upgrade costs, and utility customers will pay the remaining 45 percent.
“Shareholders should not be excused from their duty to pay the costs of retesting, and ratepayers should not receive a new pipeline at no cost,” Judge Maribeth Bushey was quoted by The San Francisco Chronicle as saying.
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A natural gas pipeline owned and operated by PG&E exploded Sept. 9, 2010, in San Bruno, Calif., killing eight people and severely damaging 38 homes. The National Transportation Safety Board later found that PG&E didn’t know what kind of pipe was beneath San Bruno and said defective welds contributed to the explosion. During the subsequent investigation into the incient, PG&E could not produce records relating to the integrity of its pipeline infrastructure and later said the records were “missing.”
A natural gas explosion destroyed a home in Castle Rock, Colorado, on Friday, leaving not much more than a smoking hole in the ground, and sending five people – four of them children – to the hospital.
According to a press release issued by the Town of Castle Rock, three nearby homes were also severely damaged and declared uninhabitable by responding authorities and 20 area residents were evacuated. The explosion also killed one of the family’s pets, a dog, and another dog and two cats are still missing.
The Denver Post has a great photo essay documenting the damage done by the blast here.
A massive natural gas explosion at a natural gas processing plant near the U.S. border, in Reynosa, Mexico, killed 30 people and injured 46 others on Tuesday, Sept. 18, according to media accounts of the incident.
Several homes in West Conway, Arkansas, were evacuated this morning in response to a natural gas leak. Authorities still have not determined the source of the leak, according to media accounts.
Residents in Longview, Texas, were forced to flee their homes on Thursday, Oct. 11, because of a natural gas leak. Authorities said the “low pressure” leak was contained relatively quickly, according to media accounts.
A natural gas leak in Salina, Kansas, led authorities to evacuate people from the North 7th Street area on Tuesday, Oct. 2, according to a recent media report. Workers had not located the source of the leak by press time.
A natural gas leak in a vacant home in Bristol, Connecticut, prompted evacuations on Tuesday, Oct. 2, according to a recent media account. A cracked meter reportedly caused the leak.
A natural gas leak ignited by a pilot light in a stove cause a fire in a mobile home park in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Sunday, Sept. 30, according to a press release from the City of Cedar Rapids.
From the release:
An investigation by the Fire Department determined that the fire originated behind the gas stove due to the failure of a flexible gas connector that supplies gas from the supply pipe to the appliance. The fire was likely ignited by the nearby pilot light. … The Fire Department recommends that older flexible gas connectors be replaced by a professional. Flexible gas connectors may need to be replaced after ten years as they are not intended to last a lifetime. Older units can wear out from too much moving, bending, and from corrosion.