(USA Today) New research today says the nation's capital, notorious for leaking state secrets, has thousands of leaks of another sort: methane from natural gas pipelines.
More than 5,800 leaks from aging pipelines were found under Washington, D.C.'s streets by scientists from Duke University and Boston University, who dispatched a car equipped with measuring instruments across the city last January and February. Their findings appear in this week's peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science & Technology.
The researchers found 19 of the leaks had high concentrations of methane, a potent heat-trapping greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming as well as smog-forming ozone. So they got out of the car and put probes into manholes. They found 12 could have caused explosions because of their levels — up to 10 times the threshold at which explosions can occur.
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