Are natural-gas lines a threat to people in Nebraska?

Natural gas line explosions are extremely dangerous to people working on site and to others who may have those gas lines entering their homes or businesses. Natural gas lines have the potential to explode, which could kill. However, Nebraska has taken some steps to reduce the risk of the lines becoming overpressurized, so there is less chance of an explosion.

In September, dozens of explosions were caused by natural gas in Boston. This reached national news outlets, drawing attention to the dangers of natural pipelines delivering natural gas to homes and businesses in the city. Boston isn't the only place where an incident like this could occur.

How much does Nebraska rely on natural gas?

Natural gas is used often in Nebraska. Approximately 26,232 miles of pipeline deliver gas across the state. Installed with these lines are security valves, regulators and relief valves. They are all designed to make sure an incident like that which took place in Boston doesn't happen in Nebraska.

As natural gas passes out of the main pipeline, it enters smaller pipes to come into homes and businesses. That's where there is a possibility of pressure building up. When the pipes become overpressurized, the risk of an explosion increases exponentially. It's believed that a malfunctioning pressure sensor might have led to the disaster in Boston.

Every year, there are around 2.47 natural-gas incidents in Nebraska, according to data since 2000. Incidents are accidents that cause injuries requiring an overnight stay at a hospital, result in $50,000 in damage or that lead to death.

Working with natural gas is a danger, but if employers at natural-gas companies work to install safety features accurately, workers and local neighborhoods can be kept safer.

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