Are You SAFE?
That all depends on how close you live to the proposed pipeline route and the direction of the wind.
First of all, the Nexus proposed pipeline is NOT a little 6″ line that brings gas to your house. This is a massive 36″ diameter gas transmission line with pressures up to 1,500 PSI. As a comparison, those little 6″ lines carry around 100 PSI to your house and then it is stepped down to around 2 PSI for your appliances.
Still don’t believe it. Take a look at this pipe on the back of a semi trailer. This is what the Nexus pipeline will look like.
Will it leak? All pipelines leak. Just search the web and you’ll find daily occurrences of this. Pipelines are built by humans with human error. Nexus wants to install 250 miles of pipe welded together in 6 months or the least amount of time possible by hiring numerous crews to all work at the same time. Given there are few regulations and fewer inspectors, as fast as the pipe is welded it’s then buried out of site but only a mere 3′ deep.
Back to the original question, are you safe? Never heard of this pipeline? Don’t think it’s this big with that amount of pressure? Think you’ll get gas from it? All of this is exactly what the pipeline company wants you to believe or not know. Keeping you in the dark and misleading everyone about the reality of its existence is a daily routine.
So, are you safe? The map below is Medina County. The proposed Nexus pipeline route is the red line zig zagging across the area. Pay special attention to the shaded area. This is what is called the BLAST ZONE, BURN ZONE or INCINERATION ZONE. This is the area that will be burnt to a crisp within seconds if there is leak and resulting explosion (leaks result in explosions because of the heat from the high pressure ignites the escaping gas). This is the primary fire zone caused by the gas explosion itself. There will then be secondary fires spreading house to house and through the regions wooded area outside of this primary Burn Zone. Think Medina County is equipped to handle this? This exact thing happened in San Bruno California in 2010 (Click Here for Info). The resulting fires were only brought under control by using the water tanker airplanes that fight forest fires. One more thing, this is raw gas straight out of the ground. It has no smell but does contain numerous cancer causing gases. Best of all, the pipeline regularly vents this directly into the air to regulate pressure. Still feel safe?
The blast radius/zone is the distance that the fire from the explosion consumes, measured in feet from the epicenter to the outer edge of the burned area. Many factors can increase the estimated blast radius such as residential homes, forests, other gas lines, utilities, businesses and industrial facilities.
The map below shows the proposed pipeline route through Medina County and the possible scenarios in the event of a pipeline explosion pending the pressure at which the pipeline is operating.
- The pipeline route is represented by the dark red line in the middle of the shaded area.
- The light orange shaded area represents a blast radius (incineration zone) while operating at a higher pressure capacity (1500 psi).
- The very outer light yellow shaded area represents a 2 mile radius evacuation zone.
NOTE: Map Layer control (icon in upper left corner of map) allows you to turn the above zones on and off.
These distance estimates were made after
- consulting the report “A Model for sizing High Consequence Areas” by C-Fer Technologies done on behalf of the Gas Research Institute in October 2000. Read the Full Report: A Model for sizing High Consequence Areas
- consulting C. Rhodes, P. Eng., Ph.D. of Xylene Power LTD. Xylene website: NATURAL GAS PIPELINE SAFETY SETBACK. CALCULATION OF SAFETY SETBACKS FROM LARGE DIAMETER HIGH PRESSURE NATURAL GAS PIPELINES
Medina County Blast and Evacuation Zones.
Note: These distances are average per calculations stated.
From the report titled “A Model for sizing High Consequence Areas” (HCA) is described as follows.
“The definition of High Consequence Areas is expected to require additional protection for people with limited mobility such as day care centers, old age homes, and prisons. This report suggests the definition for the HCA area of increased protection be set by two parameters, the pipe diameter and it’s operating pressure.”
Furthermore, the report acknowledges that natural gas pipelines do “rupture” and carry “a significant threat.”
“The rupture of a high-pressure natural gas pipeline can lead to outcomes that can pose a significant threat to people and property in the immediate vicinity of the failure location. The dominant hazard is thermal radiation from a sustained fire and an estimate of the ground area affected by a credible worst-case event can be obtained from a model that characterizes the heat intensity associated with rupture failure of the pipe where the escaping gas is assumed to feed a fire that ignites very soon after line failure.”
How Big of a Blast Radius Are We Talking About?
The Nexus pipeline diameter is estimated to be 36″ and approximately 250 miles long. Typical operating pressures for this size transmission line can range between lower pressures around 800 PSI (pounds per square inch) to higher pressures of 1500 PSI.
Calculated Hazard area radius (blast zone) chart based on pipeline diameter and operating pressure.
CALCULATED HAZARDS AND REAL WORLD STATISTICS
The data on actual pipeline failure incidents tells a slightly different story as many actual incidents report a greater radius of burn than does the actual graph established by this report.
For instance, a blast near Bealeton, Virginia (1975 NTSB-PAR-75-2) burned a radius of 700 feet at less than 800 PSI when the chart above shows burn radius should have been no more than approximately 525 feet.
Thus the actual burn radius was 75% greater than hypothesized.
Another incident involving a 30″ pipe was near Jackson, Louisiana (1984 NTSB-PAR-86-1) burned an area 1450 feet long by 360 feet wide (furthest fire extent 950 feet) while operating at 1016 PSI which claimed 5 lives within 65 feet (0 foot offset) and 23 injuries within 800 feet (180 foot offset).
The actual burn radius for this incident is 45.52% greater than the 660 foot burn radius hypothesized.