Aging infrastructure: Fix or forget?
A preliminary report blames external corrosion as the culprit that caused the crude oil spill from a Plains All American pipeline, offshore Santa Barbara, California in May 2015. These crude pipelines were built in the 1980s. U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz also pointed to aging infrastucture as the reason for the methane leak at the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility for four months since October 2015 from a 60-year-old well. Throughout the world, such facilities are aging way past their rated lifespans.
A flagrant example of the emerging series of environmental disasters due to aging infrastructure is the leaching of lead in Flint, Michigan's public water supply after foregoing the injection of a corrosion inhibitor. The EPA estimated in 2003 that it will take $276 billion to replace most of the lead water pipes in the U.S.
Will private industry and public agencies be able to invest the trillions of dollars needed to fix the aging production and pipeline infrastructures? Or will we sweep the problems into a forgotten corner, and res
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