Friday, January 17, 2014

D.C. Methane Leaks Threaten Explosions, Climate

Roads radiate out from Logan Circle in Washington, D.C. (Credit: Carol M. Highsmith/Wikipedia) Click to enlarge.
Nearly 5,900 methane and other gas leaks have been found in ageing natural gas pipelines in Washington, D.C., where some manholes were found to have methane levels 10 times the threshold for an explosion, according to the study conducted by researchers from Duke University and Boston University.

The team also surveyed pipeline leaks in Boston.  They found 3,300 natural gas pipeline leaks there, but average methane concentrations were higher in Washington.

In addition to preventing explosions that pose a major safety risk to residents, plugging the natural gas leaks in urban pipelines has significant climate benefits, said Duke University environmental sciences professor Robert Jackson, who led the research team.

“That’s a big deal,” he said.  “It’s also a real opportunity to do something quickly.  We have a tremendous opportunity to fix something that has tremendous financial, health and climate benefits.”

D.C. Methane Leaks Threaten Explosions, Climate

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