Category Archives: safety

Call Before You Dig – good idea but not enough

In case you missed it, last Friday was National “Call Before You Dig” Day.  Many utility companies, including Duke, used this as an opportunity to remind people to call 811 forty-eight hours before beginning any kind of excavation work.  The goal of the 811 “call Before You Dig” program  is to help people avoid damaging underground utilities, including natural gas lines, during digging activities.  If you call 811, the local utility company or one of their contractors will come out and mark the location of underground utilities within 48 hours.

While we wholeheartedly encourage effective programs that reduce the risk of an accidental pipeline rupture, results from a recent study published by the Common Ground Alliance are disappointing.  Not only is 3rd party damage to natural gas pipelines increasing, most of these accidents were not caused by a failure to provide notice.

According to a 2016 report, in Ohio, the number of incidents caused by digging or excavation damage is growing.  Specifically, in 2016 there were 4,756 reported cases of 3rd party damage to natural gas pipelines compared to 3,482 in 2015 — an increase of 36%.  (Common Ground Alliance 2016 DIRT Report

Most of these incidents were caused by were caused by insufficient practices in excavation (46%) or location (30%), rather than failure to call before digging.   Nineteen percent were caused by failure to notify 811.  

While Duke cannot control contractor excavation practices, they can impact the location of new pipeline infrastructure.  Duke should not knowingly put high-pressure pipelines in densely populated areas when there are significant gaps in safety mechanisms.

In the interest of transparency and public safety, Duke should conduct a complete risk assessment and share this with our local municipalities.   If Duke does not do this voluntarily, the Ohio Power Siting Board should insist upon it.

Cause of Natural Gas Pipeline 3rd Party Damage - OH 2016

Pipelines near our schools are a burning issue

When our children get on the bus in the morning, are we sending them to a safe place?

updated 5.2.2017

Have you ever heard of a School Safety Zone?  It is like a protective layer around schools (and daycare centers), designed to keep dangers away from our children.  In the State of Ohio, the School Safety Zone is 1,000 feet.  Registered sex offenders are not allowed within 1,000 feet of your child’s school.  Also, it is a felony offense to possess dangerous weapons or sell illegal drugs in the School Safety Zone in our state.

However, you may be surprised to learn that there are no laws to keep dangerous hazards like Duke’s huge expressway for natural gas away from the very place that should be safe for every child in Ohio — school.    When it comes to gas pipelines, there is NO School Safety Zone, but there should be…

That’s because if your child’s school is less than 1/4 mile away from Duke’s proposed transmission line, they are vulnerable to serious harm if there should be a pipeline failure*. When a high pressure pipeline ignites, there are flashes of heat that are unbelievably intense.  For a 20″, 500 psi pipeline, anyone within 1020 feet of the explosion is in peril of becoming severely burned, simply from the heat radiating off of the explosion.

Even with safety precautions in place, pipelines can and do fail.  Backhoes, weld failures and even Mother Nature compromise pipelines, every year.  If a failure were to happen along Duke’s transmission line, the consequences would be catastrophic and devastating.

There are over 25 schools and daycare centers within the dangerous burn zone along the preferred and alternate routes.  

What you need to do NOW:


  1. Contact families you know with children in the schools and daycare centers listed on the preferred and alternate pipeline routes.  Make them aware of this dangerous safety hazard.
  2. Contact the schools and daycare centers to make sure they are aware of the pipeline.  Ask them to send letters to parents so they can communicate with their government leaders.
  3. Communicate with Governor Kasich, State Senator Bill Seitz and the Ohio Power Siting Board to let them know a pipeline this close to our children’s schools is not acceptable.
  4. Contact Duke Energy about putting a pipeline of this size next to our schools and daycare centers.
*According to Pipeline Association for Public Awareness

San Bruno Coverage As it Happened – September 9, 2010

The natural gas pipeline San Bruno, CA provides a good indication of what could happen in our communities if there is a pipeline failure.  The pipeline that exploded on September 9, 2010 was a 30″ pipeline, with about half the pressure of Duke’s proposed pipeline.  People initially thought there was a plane crash.  The explosion happened in a densely populated residential community, just like the ones is our area where Duke plans to build the pipeline.




San Bruno, CA – Pipeline Disaster in Populated Area

This is a sobering illustration of what would happen in our communities if Duke’s high pressure natural gas line failed.  This 30″ transmission line, just like the one Duke is proposing, was not installed in a densely populated area.  The community developed after the pipeline was installed as a result of urban sprawl. Why would Duke even consider creating a situation like this here?

Watch this.  This is why we are concerned.


San Bruno Analysis – 5 Years Later

Duke Energy in the News

Duke Energy explains likely cause of downtown Greensboro explosions

7 hurt, 30 homeless after explosion, fire in Lebanon

Is Lynn Good the smartest (new) CEO in the energy industry?

Gas Line Explosion in Alexandria

Dever to Duke: Ditch gas pipeline routes


Duke Energy Buying NatGas Distributor for Nearly $5 Billion Cash

Dominion, Duke, others form JV to build natural gas pipeline

Stagnant electric demand sparks mega mergers

Duke Energy, Progress Energy to merge in $26B deal


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April 29, 2016 Natural Gas Transmission Line Explosion

It was like looking into hell” – First responder

Date: April 29, 2016, 8:00 am

Location: Rural Salem, PA (31 sq. mi radius/pop. 6,500)

Injuries: Richard Johnston did not come into contact with any flames.  The heat from the explosion was so intense, it burned him inside his home ¼ mile away from the explosion.

Damage Description:  12 foot deep hole, 1500 sq. feet; scorched 44 acres

Issues: First responders could not get out of their emergency vehicles ¼ mile from explosion because heat was so intense.

Answers Elusive in Salem, PA Natural Gas Pipeline Explosion

Local eyes fixed on Spectra gas pipeline explosion/

Man burned in Salem Twp. gas line explosion; homes, businesses evacuated

Pipelines drained, evacuation order lifted as feds investigate cause of Salem Township explosion

PA Pipeline explosion: Evidence of corrosion found


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