A typical natural gas pipeline compressor station.... Tidy industry, or neighbourhood nightmare?
(Hint: They do explode and burn.)
TransCanada Pipelines is planning to build a compressor station on the bank of the Skeena River, north of Hazelton, on its proposed Pacific Northwest Gas Transmission line. No big deal? Click on the images immediately above to link out to two YouTube videos, and decide for yourself. The lefthand video shows a compressor station blowdown on a 36" natural gas pipeline. (TransCanada's proposed pipeline would be 48" in diameter, or 1.78 times greater in volume.) All of the vented gas from a blowdown in a rural area escapes directly into the atmosphere, creating methane smog nearby. In more populated areas, the blowdown is sent to a flarestack where the natural gas is burned, also creating a methane smog nearby.
A blowdown is required during a pipeline rupture, to purge the line before closing it down, or as part of maintenance so that crews can work on a line that is not charged and volatile.
TransCanada Pipelines has studied the potential human health effects A compressor station is bad news for people who live nearby – as is evident from the righthand video link. A blowdown – just another part of doing "clean" pipeline business – is bad news for people, for wilderness, and for the planet.