The Hidden Danger of Old Gas Lines

5620529_mA recent investigation by a USA Today Network revealed the danger we face from aging gas lines, and just how extensive the problem is throughout the country. Replacing these gas lines is a lengthy, complicated, and expensive process. According to the report, a gas leak accident, serious enough to cause injury, death, or property damage, has occurred about every other day over the last decade.

Cast Iron and Bare Steel Pipes

Today’s gas lines are made from materials, such as plastic and protected steel, that are resistant to corrosion. But we have been using gas for nearly two centuries and the older pipes are cast iron and bare steel, both of which corrode in the ground. There are extensive infrastructures using these old pipes. Some have been in place for over a hundred years.

The corrosion alone can lead to a leak. In addition to corrosion, there are numerous causes of gas leaks and explosions, including weather and digging for construction.

A Common but Deadly Problem

According to the report, there are at least 85,000 miles of cast iron and bare steel gas pipes still in use today, in the U.S. Many leaks are caught before they can cause a tragedy. Even so, since 2004 gas explosions have injured at least 600 people and killed 135, while causing $2billion in damage.

Why Not Replace Old Gas Lines?

The old gas lines are being replaced, but it is not a simple process and it is very expensive. It may be decades before all of the old pipe can be replaced in some areas. In the meantime, the deterioration continues.


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