From the NY Post:
New York's aging natural-gas pipelines are ready to blow, experts warn.
Huge swaths of infrastructure maintained by Con Ed, National Grid and a handful of interstate distributors are often older than the section of 62-year-old pipe that exploded Sept. 9 in suburban San Francisco, killing four.
"We are looking at catastrophic failure that might be coming. What happened in California is not unthinkable in New York," said Anil Agrawal, professor of civil engineering at City College.
"Our piping infrastructure is very, very old. 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."
Already, the Big Apple has suffered devastating gas blasts. An explosion in Floral Park, Queens, on April 24, 2009, killed mother of three Ghanwatti Boodram. A year earlier, a blast in Sunnyside, Queens, killed Kunta Oza, 69.
Utilities, however, say they are most worried about construction crews accidentally digging into a gas main.
One of their biggest challenges is replacing miles of cast-iron and unprotected-steel pipes that are the most susceptible to corrosion and least resistant to sudden fluctuations in pressure. The cause of the San Bruno, Calif., blast remains under investigation, but Pacific Gas and Electric Co. had said in 2007 it would replace the aging section of pipe. It had delayed the work until 2013.