Around Acadiana

Nov 15, 2013 7:40 PM by Akeam Ashford

UL Professor Discusses Possibility of Pipeline Explosion in Acadiana

Hundreds are still evacuated from their homes after an explosion yesterday in Milford, Texas, 50 miles south of Dallas.

A construction crew punctured a pipeline, triggering an explosion and a fire that's still burning. It's a disaster that could happen in Louisiana, where there are 932 pipelines. In Acadiana, 182 pipelines run through the region.

According to UL Department Petroleum Engineering head Dr. Fathi Boukadi, the accident in Milford was a preventable.

"This is an accident that would not have happened before because these are low pressure low temperature liquids going through the pipeline," Boukadi said.

The petroleum is carried through the pipeline in a liquid form. Once construction crews struck the line, the liquid inside turned into gas.

The gas along with butane and natural air ignited the fire.

"It takes 1.5% of butane and air to trigger an explosion with heat to ignite a fire," Boukadi said.

According to the Department of Transportation, there are 2.3 million miles of pipeline in the nation.

Texas has the most miles of pipeline with 225,593 miles. In Louisiana, there are 66,089 miles.

These pipelines are a little more than five to six feet under ground. Making an accident like the one in Milford possible in Acadiana; if people are not aware of where these pipelines are.

"I would tell everyone to call to find out where pipelines are before you dig. They should be in a position to isolate the pipeline and cut off the pipeline where it has bursted," says Dr. Boukadi.

To avoid digging in hazardous areas, you or your contractor should call 811 or visit before beginning a project.

Click here for a breakdown of pipelines by parish.




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