Navigator CO2 has decided we are smart enough after all to look at their maps of where the carbon dioxide from their proposed Heartland Greenway pipeline might leak. After trying to keep the maps secret to avoid public misunderstanding, Navigator officials said sure, fine, let people see our plume modeling maps, and the Public Utilities Commission obliged.
And it turns out the plume-modeling map really isn’t that complicated. Just draw the pipeline, then draw a purple zone 1,855 feet on either side of the pipeline. That purple zone is the “maximum dispersion zone” where 30 minutes of exposure to a 4% concentration of carbon dioxide could knock you and your car out.
So as you can see, if the pipeline blows a gasket at the Valero plant, most of Aurora won’t pass out.
Egan, too, appears to be safe—as safe as Egan can be on any given day.
I do wonder: if Navigator’s pipeline springs a leak under I-90, will the carbon dioxide concentration shut down the cars zooming east to Minnesota for tax-free groceries? Would woozy eastbound drivers still be able to coast to the fresh air at the Valley Springs exit? I don’t know the answer for sure, but now that we have this map with its estimated not-quite-three-quarter-mile carbon-dioxide risk zone, we can look for potential trouble spots like the I-90 crossing, ask what impacts leaks may have on health and commerce at certain points along the pipeline, and get answers from the good scientists at Navigator.