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The recent large-scale snowstorm to hit the eastern periphery of
the US caused widespread chaos. Roads were difficult to use until
cleared, flights cancelled, many schools and places of
employment closed. The heavy, wet kind of snow also brought
down power lines in various locations. As usual,
shows were treated to the sort of idiot that surfaces every time a
snowstorm or hurricane passes through. Their usual argument is
that vital infrastructure such as electricity distribution cables,
should be buried. The electric companies are then forced to
explain what should be obvious to anyone with half a brain.
Suspending power lines from flimsy wooden poles is cheaper,
faster to install and critically, should they be damaged are easy to
access in order to effect a repair.
This logic draws attention to the alarming fact that we're clearly
doing domestic gas distribution all wrong. Currently, gas lines are
buried several feet under ground. Had the recent snowstorm
damaged the gas distribution pipework, repair crews would have
been faced with the nightmare scenario of digging through feet of
snow into potentially frozen ground to reach the damaged pipe.
This would be slow, costly and inconvenient. Other problems are
exacerbated by the gas being underground, should a pipe develop a
leak, the close packed earth around the pipe could block gas
egress. You might not even be able to detect such a leak!
Obviously, we should be suspending gas pipes from wooden poles
like the sensible electric companies. There are numerous
advantages, should the pipe become damaged then it will be much
easier to detect and repair the breach. In fact, the really clever
thing to do would be to suspend gas and electricity from the same
poles, often they're going to the same places.
This would mean that should a storm bring down electric lines, the
electric company could inform the gas company and vice versa,
improving damage detection for both. Conversely, a live electric
cable is often difficult to see, and may represent a hidden hazard
should it fall onto a conductor, such as a metal fence or pool of
water. Here, the obvious smell of gas would warn people that
there was also a danger of electric shocks. Any sparks could
possibly ignite the leaking gas, in this scenario the gas leak would
be really very obvious indeed. Distant survivors could then inform
one or both companies about the need for urgent work.
Gas pipe over street
Pretty common in southern Russia. (Travel east or west on this street - there's one in every block) [lurch, Mar 14 2017]
An old Idea, related to putting stuff underground [Vernon, Mar 15 2017]
||Brilliant. Water pipes should be run alongside, too. Then, when the arcing electrical lines ignite the gas, the water will immediately put out the fire.
||Have your well-earned croissant; while there is but one, it has the wholehearted approval and support of the entire Borg Collective. [+]
||When playing the "where am I" game called geoguessr, elevated
(rusty, often formerly yellow) gas lines are one of the telltale signs of
in southern Russian towns.
||I just have to assume that nobody ever gets too much vodka and then
crashes into one - whole neighborhoods could freeze.
||You should easily be able to get away with just one pipe,
wider by twice than the water is, so that the entirety of
the water fits into the lower half, where the gravity is, and
the gas floats over the water in the top prismatic
hemisphere of the inside of the oversized pipe. The
electricity could be carried along the water itself, using
electrocution, and the street lighting could be carried
across the gas by ionisation if a small amount of neon were
intentionally contaminating the gas supply, and the
pipework were transparent (which would also allow the
containment of entertaining electric eels to relax passer