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Washington's Exploding Manholes Explained? 112

sciencehabit writes "Researchers who mapped methane concentrations on the streets of the nation's capital found natural gas leaks everywhere, at concentrations of up to 50 times the normal background levels. The leaking gas wastes resources, enhances ozone production, and exacerbates global warming—not to mention powering the city's infamous exploding manholes. Most of the natural gas we burn for heat and on stovetops in the United States is methane, a simple carbon atom surrounded by four hydrogens. Carbon dioxide gets more press, but methane is the more powerful agent of global warming, 21 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere. And methane levels are rising fast. Methane levels in the atmosphere were just 650 parts per billion a century ago, versus 1800 ppb today."
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Washington's Exploding Manholes Explained?

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  • by eksith ( 2776419 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @02:50AM (#43288827) Homepage

    Far bigger than most most give attention to. And it isn't just gas lines; it's bridges/overpasses, roads, dams, levys, sewers, tunnls, heck even our data channels etc... People tend to forget that while there has been a lot of new construction, a lot of our infastructure is still decades old. Some of it going back at least 30 - 50 years and prohibitively expensive to replace/upgrade all at once. It doesn't help that there's so much expendeture on stupid things like wars on x and a hopelessly inefficient workforce. All the while the newer buildings, those things that only house prestige and drones, are being created purely by corporate entities.

    There's no immediate ROI for fixing these things that don't kill people in droves.

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