The explosion of a natural-gas pipeline under San Bruno, California, on September 9 killed four people and destroyed dozens of homes. Was it just another one of those horrible things that you have to put up with in exchange for living in California, like the earthquakes and the forest fires and the mudslides or could it happen here as well? The latter, apparently! Like California, New York City and the surrounding suburbs sit atop thousands of miles of iron and steel pipes some of them predating the twentieth century which are being replaced slowly, year by year. “We are looking at catastrophic failure that might be coming. What happened in California is not unthinkable in New York,” Anil Agrawal, a professor of civil engineering at City College, tells the Post today.
Wait a second, let’s not get suckered here. This is probably just more sensationalism and fearmongering from a tabloid looking for sales. Sure, our pipes may be old, but the city’s experts are closely monitoring their condition and are ready to prevent any major catastrophes. Let’s have a little faith, right, Professor Agrawal?
“The biggest problem is we really don’t know their condition. We only know about them when there is breakage. We just fix the breakage and wait for the next failure.”