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Thread: Aging gas lines in America

  1. #1

    Default Aging gas lines in America

    How old is too old?

  2. #2
    In the Trades Wally Hays's Avatar
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    Now that's a good question. A lot depends on the soil conditions, the quality of the pipe that was installed and naturally, the level of care that was taken when it was installed. Though the recent pipe explosion was horrendous, I would hate for people to start panicking just yet. But no doubt these accidents are wake up calls for the gas utilities.
    Perception is 3/4 of reality

  3. #3
    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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    I don't know what materials are used here.

    But if it's iron gas mains, there is currently no feasible alternative to maintaining the network other than to decommission it and replace it with a more suitable material, usually polyethylene.

    That's what we have been doing in Europe for over a decade. All those that lie within 90 feet of a property anyway. Which is why our houses are still standing as are the loved ones in them.

    To do this requires concepts which we call "Government" and "paying for infrastructure".

    But Americans don't seem to like these.

    They prefer "personal responsibility"

    Part of which means their gas pipes explode. And it's the homeowner's fault.

    And their water pipes burst. Again, the homeowner's fault. Should have seen it coming.

    Than pay poor old Uncle Sam a dime in taxes or rip up the network that "might" still be OK for another hundred years.

    Anyway, it's too big. Right?

    Sigh. You can put a man on the moon but when it comes to replacing gas mains...or the bridges...or the water pipes (the old big ones and the lead ones too)...or the overhead electrical...it all seems just a little too difficult.

    Last edited by Ian Gills; 09-14-2010 at 01:55 PM.

  4. #4
    In the Trades Wally Hays's Avatar
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    Ian, over here the government does not own the infrastructure. Here that gas piping is owned and maintained by the gas utilities which are pretty much privately owned and therefore the liability falls upon them. Exploding gas lines and dead customers are bad for business so in most cases the gas companies do a pretty good job of inspecting and replacing aging gas piping. After all, the stock holders would really prefer to make dividends rather than pay off lawsuits. Has not the fed already raised your taxes enough or are you still in the mood to keep the old wallet open?
    Perception is 3/4 of reality

  5. #5
    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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    Neither in Europe Wally, neither in Europe. The infrastructure was sold off to the private sector there a long time ago.

    The difference being the Government does what it is supposed to do. It regulates. So it checks the utilities are maintaining their lines and, for over a decade now, has mandated that iron gas mains within 90 feet of a property be replaced, subject to minimums per year and starting with the largest mains first.

    To get the Government to do that requires me (the voter) to want it to do that; for me to expect it to do that and hold it accountable; and, be willing to pay for it.

    Neither of which I see in America. You don't want the Government to do anything and certainly don't want to pay it any more than its getting. All you want is low taxes and cheap natural gas. If the gas main breaks, you'll put out the fire yourself (personal responsibility). Except this time, that fire was a little too big.

    So my wallet is open (social responsibility). And let's hope the utilities earn a lesson or two from the explosion. Because unless the fines and compensation are so big it puts the provider out of business, the market has failed.

    Neighborhoods do not disappear from gas explosions in Europe. Or in Third World countries either.

    Don't think in any way that what has happened is "normal". Everything has failed. America has failed.

    Let's hope we can fix it before the other pipes go south as well.

    And the only way to do that is to start digging......fast.....and to get that polyethylene down there.

    With the Government standing over our shoulder.

    Last edited by Ian Gills; 09-14-2010 at 06:01 PM.

  6. #6
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    90' wouldn't have mattered much on a 30" high pressure line... LOL
    It appears as though Ian may be viewing the Infrastructure of the old country through a rose tinted pair of glasses...

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/e...re/7795427.stm

    http://www.chesterchronicle.co.uk/vi...9067-22790694/

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wa...1466-25056149/

  7. #7
    In the Trades Wally Hays's Avatar
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    Ian has never gotten over the sound drubbing that poor King George was given at the hands of Mr Washington and his band of soldiers, not to mention the unberable embarrasment of having to let us yanks bail them out of that nasty little fracas about 65 years ago.
    Perception is 3/4 of reality

  8. #8
    plumbing contractor worsnup's Avatar
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    i wonder how much the CEO of pg&e took home last year? what was that fat bonus for all the cost cutting implementations he approved to to satisfy some fat corporate parasites!

  9. #9
    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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    Ian has never gotten over the sound drubbing that poor King George was given at the hands of Mr Washington and his band of soldiers,
    They were farmers not soldiers and we let them have it.

    That gas explosion would not have happened if we were still running the place.

    It would all be plastic pipe down there. Buried with the power lines and the cable TV too.

    So the view would be unhindered. And all living here would do so in safety.

    A little bit of Queen does you good.

    Redwood's video clips were lies.
    Last edited by Ian Gills; 09-15-2010 at 07:10 AM.

  10. #10
    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    America regulates, its just irregular, and the regulators and especially the inspectors fall into the pockets of the utilities.

    Looks like the Brits at BP have become as American as Amercans themselves when they operate in our waters. No need to do it the European way when over here.

    Bp is also notorious for allowing the Alaska pipeline to rot through. Probably paid too much for it and took the dopey American gov. inspectors on too many hunting and fishing trips.

    When in America, do as the Americans!

    And when they do repipe, let's hope its not Nibco Duraplex.
    Last edited by ballvalve; 09-15-2010 at 10:04 AM.

  11. #11
    George the Plumber Gsalet's Avatar
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    I am a residential plumber, so does polypropylene hold up to 380 pounds of pressure? It was a big fire I watched it from my house!

  12. #12
    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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    Not sure about polypropylene, but polyethylene is the business.

    Or neighborhoods do not blow up in England, like they do in America. And we don't get power outages either since our power lines are buried not left flapping around in the breeze like they are here because people do not want to foot the bill of digging a larger cable.

    Last edited by Ian Gills; 09-19-2010 at 04:37 PM.

  13. #13
    In the Trades Wally Hays's Avatar
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    Of course your power lines are burried. That's because you all chopped down all the trees a couple hundred years ago and don't have naything to make poles out of, well that and that you could fit most of England into the state of Texas.
    Perception is 3/4 of reality

  14. #14
    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    Seems like I saw lots of aerial lines in England. Nobody transmits high voltage underground except in downtown mega cities. Too much heat and insulation issues. Europe is certainly superior in using 240volts inside the house, but I never could get the 50 HZ program.

    Polypropylene is for rope, not pipe.

    England chopped down all the big oaks to build ships in order to rule the world for quite a long time. Not many wooden poles anywhere in europe, cement and steel and fiberglas.

  15. #15
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wally Hays View Post
    pipe explosion was horrendous, I would hate for people to start panicking just yet
    Risk and the perception of it are two different things. 1000 people die every single day from smoking in the U.S. and no one says anything, but if two jumbo jets crashed into the ground every single day there would be a huge public uproar.

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