Nearly 6,000 Gas Leaks Discovered In Washington, D.C.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/16/washington-dc-gas-leaks_n_...

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You've never wanted a city-wide smoking ban more than this.

An alarming new report put out in the journal Environmental Science &a... finds nearly 6,000 natural gas leaks around Washington, D.C. And it gets worse. Way, way worse.

The leaks were first discovered a year ago -- then, 19 of the leaks were found to have high concentrations of methane, the primary ingredient in natural gas, and 12 had high enough levels to cause explosions, according to USA Today. Four months later, after presenting their findings to D.C.'s utility, the researchers from Duke, Stanford and Boston University went out to check on Washington's gas problem again. They found the wrong kind of gasbags around the nation's capital.

Driving a GPS-equipped car outfitted with a "high-precision Picarro G2301 Cavity Ring-Down Spectrometer," according to a news release put out by Duke, the scientists discovered nine leaks still spewing dangerous methane levels.

"Finding the leaks a second time, four months after we first reported them, was really surprising," Duke professor Robert B. Jackson, the study's leader, said in the news release. "If you dropped a cigarette down a manhole ... it could have blown up," heelaborated to USA Today. "I was shocked."

About as shocked, we'd imagine, as Georgetown Cupcake customers were when a manhole cover explosion led to the store's evacuation, last March.

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Comment by Kojima on January 17, 2014 at 4:12pm

Here's a map of where the researchers found unusually high levels of methane:

 

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