Natural gas leaks are a big problem. With over 300,000 miles of natural gas pipeline in the U.S. alone, it’s more important than ever that gas leaks be prevented for both people and the planet. At Aptus, we specialize in natural gas pipeline installation and maintenance along bridges; what are our best suggestions for preventing leaks that emanate from bridge-attached pipelines?
- Scheduled Inspections
The single most important consideration in preventing gas leaks is the implementation of scheduled, regular inspections. Professional pipeline technicians using specific tools and monitoring techniques are trained to spot the exact conditions that can lead to a leak. Most leaks aren’t sudden; they happen gradually over time and can usually be prevented with maintenance. The key to ensuring inspections don’t fall by the wayside is to schedule them around the same time each year, or to work with a bridge-utilities company that will reach out when it’s time for a re-check.
- Anti-Corrosion Strategies
Bridges, by nature, are highly susceptible to the elements. In moist, salty areas, corrosion can cause structural components of pipelines to fail. Rivets, joints, and connections left to corrode may allow gas to escape into the open air which creates a highly dangerous environment. Proper treatment and prevention of corrosion utilizing tools such as galvanized coatings or barrier wraps can go a long way towards protecting the metal components of a bridge.
- Monitoring Technology
Both utility companies and pipeline installers are benefitting from constant advancements in leak-monitoring technology. From camera-collected leak data to “guns” that can directly detect methane molecules, the tech of leak detection is improving every year. Although detection products are becoming more sophisticated and affordable, the best prevention tool is still human experience. Knowledgeable technicians trained to spot leaks are the gold-standard in early detection.
- Maintain, Maintain, Maintain
Even the best-laid pipeline will need reparative maintenance at some point. Maintenance and its associated repairs are a necessity for pipelines, particularly those installed along heavily-traveled bridges which take a beating from both motion and weather. Proper bridge maintenance can include anything from the re-galvanization of containment tubes to the replacement of whole sections of gas piping, but it’s the only way to ensure leaks don’t cause serious problems down the road.
Aptus is an industry leader in bridge-attached utilities. We’ve worked on thousands of bridges across the U.S. and have extensive experience maintaining natural gas pipelines attached to those structures.
For more information on our services, contact us today.