This Week In Natural Gas Leaks and Explosions — June 6, 2011Jun 6th, 2011 | By admin | Category: Lead Articles, Natural Gas Explosions, Natural Gas Leaks
It’s been a busy, busy week for natural gas leaks and natural gas explosions around the country, so let’s get right to it:
In New Jersey’s Franklin Township, a natural gas leak forced approximately 30 families from their homes on Thursday, June 2, according to a story in the New Jersey Star-Ledger. Three hours later, Public Service Electric & Gas crews had determined where in the ground the gas was leaking, but not the source of the leak itself.
In San Diego, CA, San Diego Gas & Electric sent out a letter on Friday, June 3, to 50,000 customers warning them not have a plumber use a snake to clear a sewer line in their house because it could possibly touch off a natural gas explosion, according to a 10News story. Turns out that back in the ’80s, the company used a technique called trenchless technology to lay some of its pipelines, which may have resulted in a condition called cross-boring.
From the 10News story:
That method might have led to what is called cross boring. During installation of a natural gas pipeline, the utility might have accidentally bored through a sewer line. If the cross bore is left alone, there should be no problem, according to the utility. The problem would arise if a plumber who was trying to clear the sewer line using a snake device accidentally cut through a gas line. SDG&E is inspecting any lines that could be at risk using an underground device that travels through sewage pipes. The inspections are expected to continue through 2015 and are prioritized based on population density.
Out in the San Francisco Bay Area, nearly nine months after a Pacific Gas & Electric-owned pipeline exploded in San Bruno, CA, killing eight people, the company has taken out full-page ads in 24 California newspapers apologizing for the tragedy, according to a story in the San Jose Mercury News. A PG&E spokesperson said shareholders paid $250,000 for the advertisements, which started running on Thursday, June 2.
The PG&E advertising campaign comes just days after the company said it would in all likelihood miss a deadline to provide key documents about the company’s pipeline safety status to regulators who requested the information following the San Bruno explosion.
A natural gas explosion leveled a house in Baltimore, MD, on Thursday, June 2, according to a story posted by the Baltimore CBS affiliate. One man was sent to the hospital with second- and third-degree burns. Watch this story to see some disturbing images of the destruction.
In Mt. Lebanon, PA, a natural gas leak closed an entire city block for several hours on Friday, June 3, and in Fairborn, OH, a natural gas leak forced the evacuation of en entire apartment building on the same day.
In Illinois, a natural gas-fueled fire destroyed a restaurant in St. Charles, causing an estimated $450,000 in damage on Wednesday, June 1. When firefighters arrived, according to a story in the Courier News, they found flames spewing from the restaurants natural gas meter. The incident shut down traffic in the neighborhood for hours and forced the evacuation of nearly 50 people.
In Brooklyn Park, MN, a natural gas leak destroyed a duplex home on Wednesday, June 1. According to a story aired on KSAX, the natural gas explosion blew out the north wall of the house and set the place on fire. Click the link to see some stunning video images of the destruction.
A pair of bagel shop employees were injured in a suspected natural gas explosion on Monday, May 30, in Stamford, CT, according to a story in the Stamford Times. Both employees were transported to the hospital, where they were listed in stable condition, and the bagel shop was shut down while investigators probed the nature of the blast.
Fire companies from three districts turned out to battle a blaze at a natural gas plant in Durango-La Plata County Airport in Colorado on Wednesday, June 1, according to a story in the Durango Herald. No one was injured.
A major gas leak forced a shut-down of traffic in North Forsyth, GA, on the afternoon of Wednesday, June 1. Investigators said the leak was caused by the failure of a natural gas main.
An automobile crash precipitated a natural gas leak that led to the evacuation of area residents in a southwest Omaha, NE, neighborhood early on the morning of Wednesday, June 1. Witnesses sid two cars crashed into each other, and one of them rolled across a yard and into the side of a house. The impact broke a natural gas line, according to a CBS Action News 3 story.
A man mowing his lawn in North Hornell, NY, triggered a neighborhood evacuation on the evening of Tuesday, May 31, when his lawnmower banged against the side of a gas meter, triggering leak that shut down area traffic for several hours, according to a story in the Hornell Evening Tribune.
Area residents in Penn Township, PA, lost service on Tuesday, May 31, after a resident reported a strong odor of natural gas in the area. Police and firefighters subsequently determined that a natural gas pipeline was leaking, according to a story in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Near Bakersfield, CA, residents complained of respiratory problems after the area was overpowered by a powerful odor of natural gas, according to a story posted on Bakersfieldnow.com. The odor was connected to PG&E’s decision to release high levels of mercaptan, the scent added to natural gas to aid in the detection of leaks, in an effort to clear pipelines of excess amounts of the substance.
In Louisiana, one person was killed and another seriously injured in an explosion that ripped through a natural gas processing plant in Red River Parish, LA, on Saturday, May 28, according to a story that ran on Louisiana’s WAFB-TV9.
On Thursday, May 26, a 20-inch natural gas pipeline exploded in rural Texas, according to a Marketwatch.com story posted on Friday, May 27.
HOUSTON (MarketWatch) — An Enterprise Product Partners LP EPD -1.56% natural gas pipeline exploded Thursday in rural Texas, according to a filing with state regulators made public Friday.
A 20-inch diameter pipeline exploded because of “unknown reasons” in Wilson County, Texas, according to the Enterprise’s filing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The company is investigating the cause, according to the filing.
“The nearest block valves to the rupture location were shut as soon as possible,” the company said in its filing.
No injuries were reported, according to a dispatcher with the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office. Wilson Country is about 42 minutes southeast of San Antonio.
And remember, as always, this round-up of natural gas incidents across the country does not include the myriad leaks caused by construction crews who inadvertently rupture natural gas lines for one reason or another during the course of their activities. Those incidents are too numerous to document.