Pittsburgh: Snapshot of Natural Gas Leaks

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  • City of Pittsburgh
  • Environmental Defense Fund
Pittsburgh Natural Gas

The agency utilized Google Street View car to detect potentially dangerous methane leaks in Pittsburgh. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) deployed a Street View vehicle equipped with a methane-detection sensor, which over the past year has identified 200 indications of leaks from Peoples Natural Gas pipes in six Pittsburgh neighborhoods. EDF launched similar studies in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, and Jacksonville, discovering a greater concentration of leaks in Boston (one per mile driven) than in Pittsburgh (one per two miles driven). Based on this data, Pittsburgh plans to replace all its bare metal pipes in the next five to seven years, a project that cities like Boston may soon consider.


Google Street View cars (methane concentration, wind direction and speed, and GPS location. Data was recorded two times a second, and streets were driven multiple times to verify readings)