The Real Deal New York

Harlem explosion warns against perils of aging infrastructure

Mains in Boston and Washington, D.C. are also failing

March 13, 2014 06:10PM

From left: Aerial view of Boston's infrastructure, the Harlem explosion site on Wednesday and a Washington, D.C. water main

From left: Boston’s infrastructure, the Harlem explosion site in New York and a Washington, D.C. water main

An explosion in Harlem that left seven people dead, injured 28 and leveled two buildings on Park Avenue is suspected to have been caused by a gas leak from an underground main, rousing concern about the city’s aging infrastructure.

And the Big Apple, it appears, isn’t alone: a January report found that Washington, D.C.’s buried gas mains were leaking methane in 5,893 places, at concentrations ten times higher than the point at which explosions can occur. A 2012 report uncovered spots in Boston with equally worrisome issues.

Despite alerting the city, officials have yet to repair the D.C. leaks, according to previous reports. [Slate]Angela Hunt

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