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Pipelines leak, gas soaks into ground, goes BOOM!

The former pipeline executive who spoke on condition of anonymity laughed when asked about first responders finding leaks. “This unodorized gas can soak into the ground around the pipeline. You can’t see it, smell it, taste it. And then boom!

More than 700 miles of pipelines carrying corrosive gas run under Fort Worth — but no one’s sure exactly where. November 28, 2012 by PETER GORMAN

I highly recommend medication before reading this article. Then read every word and read it again.

In July 2011, Fort Worth finally hired an engineering firm to map out the 150 miles or so of pipeline laid since the Barnett Shale boom.

Where the 500 to 600 miles of pipeline laid prior to 2009 are is anybody’s guess. The Texas Railroad Commission kind of knows but, not really, and they aren’t much into pipeline regulation.

“Everyone in the industry thinks this is a ticking time bomb,” said a former pipeline executive who asked that his name not be used. “The truth is, it’s just insane to have wet gas around schools. Yet you go down to Vickery and Horne and turn north and see pipes right across the street from a school. And all pipes leak over time. They corrode and rot out, and the initial builder sells out, and you wind up with some jackleg [company] with little insurance owning the lines, not being able to maintain them properly.” The lack of regulation by the state and local governments is “simply gross negligence,” he said.

The pipelines leak because the gas is wet and highly corrosive.

We are using defective pipe from China.

The leaks are hard or next to impossible to detect.

If a leak or explosion happens, you have to wait for a special crew to shut off the flow of gas.

In the San Bruno, Calif., explosion in 2010 that killed eight and leveled a neighborhood, it took the pipeline company 90 minutes to identify the line — a dry-gas transmission line — and shut it down.

If a leak or explosion happens you’re kind of on your own.

“Look, we do whatever we can to limit hazards to our communities,” he said. “But emergencies will occur, so people have to know how to protect themselves to some extent.”

My favorite sentence in this article is

That’s quite a mix of sentiment on an issue that can turn a neighborhood into a fireball in a matter of seconds.

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