Enbridge’s Texas Eastern Transmission Pipeline ‘TETCO’ — site of explosion, August 1, 2019, Lincoln County, Kentucky | GIS mapping & imagery by author.

The Kentucky Enbridge Pipeline Explosion: everyday risk buried in American backyards.

“It’s a tragedy and it’s truly heartbreaking. These things happen. It’s a dangerous industry. It’s a dangerous business,” the governor said.

The explosion in Kentucky is not the first Enbridge incident this year. In January, an Enbridge natural gas pipeline on the same system exploded in Ohio, igniting a fireball that injured two people and damaged homes. In November 2018, a ruptured Enbridge natural gas pipeline ignited a fire that evacuated part of a First Nations territory in British Columbia, Canada.

But Enbridge also moves liquid fuel, and has been behind some of the biggest pipeline accidents in US history, including the catastrophic Kalamazoo River spill.

The nation’s oldest pipelines not only are experiencing problems with corrosion but newer pipelines are also outliers when it comes to accidents. Amid a sprint to build out new pipelines and infrastructure to support the fracking rush, the safety record of newly built pipelines deteriorated.

Recreating Enbridge’s August 1, 2019 Kentucky Pipeline Explosion:

240 pipeline operators oversee the American pipeline network of intrastate gas transportation — Left Panel | TETCO alignment isolated — Right Panel | Interactive map located — https://vzpi.github.io/240_USA_Pipelines/ | Mapped by author.
Pre-explosion 7–24–19 | Post-explosion 8–03–19 via Sentinel Satellite Imagery
Mapping the TETCO pipeline — correct alignment in development (magenta line), southwest of Lincoln County, Kentucky. Mapping by author.
TETCO Pipeline alignment (mint green) spanning 231 miles across the state of Kentucky | 8/1/19 Explosion Point (orange square) | Mapped by author.
Potential Impacted structures | Analysis by author.
South to North TETCO pipeline alignment segments (mint green) + Structures w/in 825' (black) + 8/1/19 explosion location (orange) | Mapped by author.

‘High Consequence Areas’ - Typologies of Risk

Isolated, rural properties in extreme proximity to TETCO alignment | Mapped at 1:850 scale.
Manufactured housing and tract developments straddling the TETCO pipeline alignment | Mapped at 1:2500 scale.
Google Earth Imagery Series at Lincoln County explosion site — 1997 | 2003 | 2016 | Orange dot represents explosion point.

Everyday Geographies, Exceptional Risk

References:

GIS Analyst & Instructor | Shale Gas Impacts, Environmental Justice & Climate Change Issues

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