An enhanced procedure for urban mobile methane leak detection
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Citation (published version)T. Keyes, G. Ridge, M. Klein, N. Phillips, R. Ackley, Y. Yang. 2020. "An enhanced procedure for urban mobile methane leak detection.." Heliyon, Volume 6, Issue 10, pp. e04876 - ?. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2020.e04876
Leaked methane from natural gas distribution pipelines is a significant human and environmental health problem in urban areas. To assess this risk, urban mobile methane leak surveys were conducted, using innovative methodology, on the streets of Hartford, Danbury, and New London, Connecticut, in March 2019. The Hartford survey was done to determine if results from a 2016 survey (Keyes et al., 2019) were persistent, and surveys in additional towns were done to determine if similar findings could be made using an identical approach. Results show that Hartford continues to be problematic, with approximately 3.4 leaks per road mile observed in 2016 and 4.3 leaks per mile estimated in 2019, similar to that previously found in Boston, Massachusetts (Phillips et al., 2013). A preliminary estimate of methane leaks in Hartford is 0.86 metric tonnes per day (or 313 metric tonnes per year), equivalent to 42,840 cubic feet per day of natural gas, and a daily gas consumption of approximately 214 U.S. households. Moreover, the surveys and analyses done for Danbury and New London also reveal problematic leaks, particularly for Danbury with an estimated 3.6 leaks per mile. Although road miles covered in New London were more limited, the survey revealed leak-prone areas, albeit with a range of methane readings lower than those in Hartford and Danbury. Data collection methods for all studies is first reported here and are readily transferable to similar urban settings. This work demonstrates the actionable value that can be gained from data-driven evaluations of urban pipeline performance, and if supplemented with a map of leak-prone pipe geo-location, and information on pipeline operating pressures, will provide a spatial database facilitating proactive repair and replacement of leak-prone urban pipes, a considerable improvement compared to reactive mitigation of human-reported leaks. While this work pertains to the selected urban towns in the Northeast, it exemplifies issues and opportunities nationwide in the United States.
Rights© 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).