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Methane Gas Leak

The gas leak at Porter Ranch near Los Angeles in 2015/2016 has renewed attention to a growing problem with aging gas pipes. This issue chronicled in detailed in 2014.

USA Today Reported “About every other day over the past decade, a gas leak in the United States has destroyed property, hurt someone or killed someone ... The most destructive blasts have killed at least 135 people, injured 600 and caused $2 billion in damages since 2004.”

There are several causes of the gas leaks however the key problem is aging metal gas pipes that are rusting and corroding. There are more than 85,000 miles of this piping. Some is more than 100 years old. The majority is located in the Northeast in New York, Boston and Detroit.

The Environmental Defense Fund measured air quality in Staten Island and found an average of one natural gas leak for every mile tested.

PBS reported, “Events of this size are rare, but major leakage across the oil and gas supply chain is not,” Director of Environmental Defense Fund’s California Oil & Gas Program Tim O’Connor said in a statement. “There are plenty of mini-Aliso Canyons that add up to a big climate problem — not just in California, but across the country.”

“According to a 2014 Stanford University study, methane emissions may be 50 percent higher than official projections from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Research published last year also found the technology that EPA and others use to measure emissions may itself be flawed, and the amount of methane leaking into the atmosphere is likely “systematically underestimated.”

EPA has developed methane regulations since they state that methane and other greenhouse gases are harmful to people. This is from the production of smog and ozone that are known to create health issues.

Methane Gas Air Purifiers

If you have a methane gas leak you will need an advanced air filtration system to effectively remove the gases. HEPA filters are not effective for gas removal as the gases will simply pass through the HEPA filter fibers. Activated carbon alone is also not very effective. What you need is additional gas phase media to adsorb methane gas.

We have developed a proprietary filter media to give you a complete solution. This carbon material is used in our Erik and EJ air purifiers. Compounds like potassium permanganate are needed to remove methane, sulfur and other dangerous gases.

An advantage to our filters is that they have a lot of surface area that is needed for removal but we do this in a way that minimizes the air flow resistance. This gives you more air flow and less noise to cover larger rooms. It also provides more air changes to filter your air more often producing better results.

Dangers of Methane Gas

While methane can be considered non-toxic there are serious issues that can result from high concentrations. The first is the risk of explosions. At just a 5% concentration rate, methane can explode when mixed with other gases.

Asphyxiation is a second risk. This is because it replaces oxygen that you need to breathe. Minimum oxygen levels should be at 18% and with the presence methane, oxygen can reach lower, more dangerous levels.

A third danger is carbon monoxide poisoning. Natural gas is 97% methane. When burned in homes or offices without proper ventilation can result in unsafe levels of carbon monoxide. Symptoms will show up as dizziness, fatigue, nausea, headache and irregular breathing.

Natural Gas

Natural gas is a fossil fuel that is made of mostly methane. It is formed from decomposed plant and animal matter. Natural gas is used as fuel source for heating, cooking, automobiles and has many other applications.

Sewer Gas

Sewer gas is a combination of toxic and nontoxic gases that are generated from sewage. Sewer gases often include common elements of what we naturally find in the air but also other gases like methane.

Most often sewer gases have an annoying odor and in some cases present health issues or the potential for explosions.

Hydrogen sulfide is primarily what you are smelling when there is a rotten egg smell. Symptoms show up as eye irritation, sore throat, and shortness of breath fatigue, pneumonia, headaches and dizziness. At very high concentrations, you will be very fatigued and can result in death.

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