Underground Gas Vaults Pose an Additional Danger

Fires that raged in Breezy Point and the Jersey Shore may have been caused by gas leaks related to freak storm Hurricane Sandy, but Natural Gas Watch has uncovered a long-term danger that could affect New York’s flood-prone areas. The issue stems from a part of gas distribution infrastructure known as a regulator vault. When they are flooded, a vault regulator’s ability to control gas pressure can be impaired. “Water can cause the regulator to be stuck open completely. If that happens, it dramatically increases the pressure and can cause serious problems down the line. If gas is coming into a home or a business at a much higher pressure than it’s supposed to, it can cause a fire or even an explosion.” In addition, flooding can accelerate corrosion of the regulators. A vault such as this is currently being constructed to service the Spectra pipeline, where Hurricane Sandy brought a storm surge that flooded the surrounding area. Full story, here.

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