This Week In Natural Gas Leaks and Explosions – December 3, 2012Dec 3rd, 2012 | By fjgallagher | Category: Lead Articles, Natural Gas Explosions
Natural gas explosions made national headlines over the past few weeks with high-profile incidents in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Springfield, Massachusetts, but there were many more natural gas leaks and explosions that didn’t garner quite so much attention.
That said, you can listen to a compelling recording of the audio feed from the emergency communications channels recorded during the Springfield explosion here.
A natural gas transmission pipeline owned and operated by Pacific Gas & Electric ruptured on Saturday morning, Dec. 1, near Stockton, California, forcing the residents of a six-block area to evacuate their homes, according to a recent media report. Area residents reported hearing a loud boom and seeing a large cloud rising from the site, but investigators stated that no explosion occurred. Investigators have not yet identified the cause of the rupture.
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A natural gas explosion at the Dry Canyon natural gas processing facility near Price, Utah, damaged several buildings and sent two workers to the hospital with critical injuries on Tuesday, Nov. 20. According to media reports describing the incident, the blast occurred when a natural gas line leading to the compressor station ruptured around 9 a.m. that morning. Investigators later attributed the explosion to a damaged natural gas pipeline that exploded when a spike in pressure occurred.
A Marlborough, Massachusetts, man who had been hospitalized since Oct. 28 with injuries suffered as a result of a natural gas explosion that destroyed a home he occupied died on Wednesday, Nov. 29. Investigating authorities still have not determined the cause of the now-fatal blast, according to media reports. Gas service to the home had reportedly been shut off since June.
An explosion in Newark, New Jersey, on Nov. 21 destroyed one home and damaged another nearby house, leaving one family homeless, according to media reports describing the blast. At press time, authorities had not disclosed the cause of the explosion, but natural gas was reportedly to blame.
A construction worker operating a backhoe touched off a natural gas blast in Lewiston, Idaho, on Nov. 20, according to media accounts of the incident. The explosion, which ignited when the backhoe pierced a four-inch natural gas main, sent a tower of flame nearly 100 feet into the air, destroyed a nearby home and sent several people to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries.
Researchers at Boston University recently published the results of a survey they conducted that found thousands of natural gas leaks in the streets of Boston, Massachusetts. The lead researcher on the project, BU Prof. Nathan Phillips, talked with NaturalGasWatch.org about the project, then underway, back in May 2011. From the NaturalGasWatch,org story:
“I was surprised that we documented literally hundreds of leaks,” Prof. Nathan Phillips, an associate professor of geography and environment and the director of BU’s Center for Environmental and Energy Studies (CEES), told Naturalgaswatch.org. “We stopped measuring because we ran out of time, but if we had kept going, we could have documented thousands or tens of thousands of leaks.”
A natural gas leak in Crawfordsville, Indiana, forced a family from their home on Friday, Nov. 30, according to a recent media report describing the incident. Authorities later identified a natural gas distribution pipeline operated by Vectren as the source of the leak.
A natural gas leak in a gathering line, which collects natural gas from several wells and moves it to a processing facility for compression before shipping it up the line for distribution, forced a five-hour road closure in rural Cowley County, Kansas, on Nov. 28, according to recent media account. Investigating authorities still have not determined the source of the leak, which was characterized as “significant.”
A natural gas leak described as “massive” precipitated the evacuation of area residents in Richmond, Virginia, on Nov. 27, according to recent media accounts. The leak reportedly occurred when an aging natural gas line ruptured. The cause of the leak has not been determined.
And remember, as always, this round-up of natural gas leaks and explosions from throughout the country is not meant to be comprehensive; it is merely representative of the incidents that occur with astonishing regularity wherever natural gas pipelines have been laid.