Model of a major pipeline failure – what are your chances?

In the event of a major pipeline failure, the initial explosion can cause much damage to structures and injury to people.  However, the real threat is from the intense high heat from the resulting fireball fed by high pressure gas.

Click anywhere on the map or enter an address in the box below to understand your potential risk if a 20"/500 psi pipeline has a major rupture which ignites along the proposed and alternate routes.  Move the cursor around on the map to view distances and potential impacts of different locations.    

For a larger view, select "Launch Full Screen Map" Button

For additional insight, toggle over the satellite view of the map in the upper left hand corner.  

The satellite view enables you to see buildings, green spaces and more details about a specific area on the map.

Understanding your results:

Skin Temperature

111°

118°

131°

140°

162°

Physiological Response*

Human Skin Begins to Feel Pain

Human Skin Receives 1st Degree Burn

Human Skin Receives 2nd Degree Burn

Phase When Human Tissue Becomes Numb

Human Skin is Instantly Destroyed

* SOURCE: National Institute of Standards & Technology

ABOUT THE MODEL:

This simulation is for illustrative purposes only.  Actual results in the event of a major pipeline failure may vary.  

These estimates of burn levels are derived from mathematical models, and as in all models, they are based on assumptions.  Interested readers can refer to the literature cited for the underlying thermal flux physics (see below).

Estimates of the burn impacts on people from a pipeline explosion and fire will depend on many factors, including the distance to the flame, time of exposure and the ability to take cover, which in turn depends on the type of structure
(e.g., brick vs. wood).  Available models do not allow for producing estimates for all configurations of the immediate environment.  These estimates correspond to the impacts of an unprotected individual at various distances from the flame.

The estimates assume that the individual faces an unobstructed exposure to the flame – no buildings – as would be at a school playground or commercial district with pedestrian traffic.

The model is based upon the following published research:

¹ Mark J. Stephens, A MODEL FOR SIZING HIGH CONSEQUENCE AREAS ASSOCIATED WITH NATURAL GAS PIPELINES, C-FER Report 99068, prepared for Gas Research Institute, October 2000

² DNV Technica and Scandpower A/S, HUMAN RESISTANCE AGAINST THERMAL EFFECTS, EXPLOSION EFFECTS, TOXIC EFFECTS, AND OBSCURATION OF VISION, March 2001 

³ Hymes, I. 1983. The Physiological and Pathological Effects of Thermal Radiation. Systems, Reliability Directorate, Report SRD, R275, Culcheth, Warrington, UK.