West Palm Beach, FL – “With only one thing in common. They got the fire down below.”
Bob Seger Fire Down Below”
California and New York both share Democratic political control above ground, but in a surprising development they also have something in common in the subsurface.
CBS2 in New York has completed an investigation that discovered some New York City residents may be sitting on a ticking or seeping time bomb: From the city to the suburbs, thousands of miles of some of the countrys oldest and decaying gas mains lay just below the surface of our streets.
Some of the citys gas mains are over 100 years old and they are not aging well.
Natural gas expert Mark McDonald warns, That infrastructure is way past its service life, which is dangerous.
But thats no reason for California residents to look at New York City with disdain, because we have our own gas infrastructure problems.
In 2010 we had one of the largest natural gas explosions in the nation when a pipe leak explosion killed nine.
Even without explosions, California gas leaks can cause major problems.
Currently the upscale Los Angeles suburb of Porter Ranch, where some of the movie E.T. was filmed, is plagued by a new alien presence.
The AP found that residents there are enduring the sickening stench from an out-of-control natural gas leak thats so bad many families have been forced from their homes.
AP explains the leak isnt coming from a worn out, manmade pipeline, instead the origin is a storage facility whose age is measured on a geologic time scale.
Southern California Gas has been storing natural gas far underground in a vacant oil field . . . the largest natural gas storage facility west of the Mississippi River and can provide energy to all of Southern California for a month.
But its also a leaky storage container, which wasnt a problem previously since oil doesnt flow uphill, but is with natural gas that does.
Of the two states, New York appears to have a more attentive utility.
In New York City, Con Edison has responded with a program to replace old mains at a rate of 65 miles per year, a number that is expected to increase to 100 miles in 2016.
This has decreased the number of leaks by 30 percent and Con Edison attempts to stay on top of the problem by surveying neighborhoods 13 per year to check for leaks.
Porter Ranch residents contend Southern California Gas has not been receptive. “We’re not a bunch of hicks. We’re like Porter Ranch, it’s like, you know, the Beverly Hills of the valley,” one resident complained. “We’re like BMW people and you’re giving us Pinto service.”
Currently SoCalGas is paying $250 per night for hotels and up to $7,500 a month for rental homes for those residents driven from their homes by the smell.