Appendix E: Pipelines—Transporting Shale Gas to Markets

What health considerations are there?


Pipelines carry hazardous materials and therefore entail safety risks. Typically, natural gas pipeline accidents that cause explosions and/or fires are most frequently due to excavation and pipeline corrosion or defects. 1 According to PHMSA, from 2004 to 2013, the ten-year incident average for natural gas pipelines was as follows: 117 incidents on transmission lines; 16 on gathering lines (rural gathering lines do not require incident reporting) 2; and 137 on distribution lines. 3


  1. U.S. Department of Transportation, “The State of the National Pipeline Infrastructure” (2011).
  2. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), “Pipeline Incidents by System Type,” data as of 11/21/14.
  3. Incidents that are recorded by OPS involve a release of gas that results in death or in-patient hospitalization, and/or property damage of $50,000 or more. (PHMSA, “Reporting Criteria as of 2011,” March 2011.)