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IT'S ALL (natural gas) PIPES!
October 14, 2009 4:43 PM   Subscribe

Does your tap water taste funny? Have you tried lighting it on fire? posted by Sys Rq (49 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
So... more than lighting up farts, I will now be able to light up pee?

That's gonna be great to write on snow! where do I sign up?
posted by qvantamon at 4:47 PM on October 14, 2009


Actually, seeing on the first video that the tap was still burning even after turning off the water... nevermind...
posted by qvantamon at 4:48 PM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


No, but I tried that with Lake Erie once.
posted by ...possums at 4:49 PM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Residents of the US take their drinking water for granted, but as the US slowly progresses into another third-world country and pollution worsens, corporations are gearing up to coerce customers into buying bottled water at incredible mark ups, just as is done in Latin and South America.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:55 PM on October 14, 2009 [21 favorites]


8-0
posted by anigbrowl at 4:56 PM on October 14, 2009


This is one of my favorite burning water videos. Bonus points for clueless local TV station, and conspiracy theorist water car Youtube commenters.

That said, if natural gas is the secret to setting water on fire, I'm all for it. This energy crisis is getting annoying, and it's time we fix it so that we can get back to the urgent issues at hand, like flag burning.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:56 PM on October 14, 2009


If you're going to do that trick, a BBQ style lighter seems like a good idea.

So... more than lighting up farts, I will now be able to light up pee?

No, the concentration of methane won't stay the same as the water goes through your body. I'm not sure what happens to it. According to This MSDS it's listed as a "Simple Asphyxiant - maintain oxygen levels above 19.5%" And notes that its extremely flammable. I'm not sure you would be able to taste it either, since methane has no taste. But there could be other gasses in the water as well. Taking a shower with water like that could be a pretty serious fire hazard.
posted by delmoi at 4:58 PM on October 14, 2009


IRFH: Hey, Doc. How come it burns when I pee?
Doc: Are you drinking tap water and lighting your flo on fire again?
IRFH: *hangs head, shuffles feet, avoids direct gaze* Mayyyybe...
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:01 PM on October 14, 2009 [14 favorites]


oh man wait till I put the water in my bong this is going to be sweeFTHOOOOOOM
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:06 PM on October 14, 2009 [6 favorites]


Ah, it's good to see Colorado back in the news again.
posted by boo_radley at 5:11 PM on October 14, 2009


So, no smoking in the shower. I used to have a roommate that did this.
posted by sneebler at 5:12 PM on October 14, 2009


Drinking or smoking in the shower is a good sign that you are addicted...

That said, if they can find a way to make this non toxic, I think it should be mandatory.
posted by poe at 5:16 PM on October 14, 2009


I only smoke between mouthfuls.
posted by i_cola at 5:17 PM on October 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


I was just reading about this earlier today, and found this upstate New York organization organizing to fight natural gas fracking: Catskill Citizens. They have schedules for public hearings on the matter in New York, including one in NYC on November 10th:

Stuyvesant High School
High School Auditorium
345 Chambers Street
New York, NY 10282
posted by paul_smatatoes at 5:20 PM on October 14, 2009


Here's some more information:
"The director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission says the mystery of the flammable water from a Fort Lupton-area well has been partially solved.

Director David Neslin told the commission Tuesday that nearby gas wells were replugged and tests showed methane gas was not to blame.

'I don't know that we solved the mystery, but we evaluated all the wells in a half-mile radius and determined that the wells are operating properly. The wells were not the source of the gas,' Neslin said. 'We don't believe there is a current leak or problem that endangers public safety.'"
The water wells were given a new water treatment system. Methane occurs naturally in the groundwater in their county.
posted by Houstonian at 5:25 PM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


poe: "Drinking or smoking in the shower is a good sign that you are addicted"

For tobacco at least, smoking is a pretty good sign you are addicted.

yeah I know some people can just have like a cigarette or two a year but we are talking about good signs here, not 100% effective indicators
posted by idiopath at 5:27 PM on October 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


This makes it easier to boil before drinking.
posted by mazola at 5:30 PM on October 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


So, no smoking in the shower. I used to have a roommate that did this.

In the mornings, if I've slept in, I take my coffee and cigarettes in the shower. It's efficient!
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:31 PM on October 14, 2009


It's not as visually impressive, but us Northern Coloradoans also have this brilliant plan to deal with:

Powertech Uranium's Centennial Project

That's right, in-situ extraction (which goes along with lots of well fracking if I understand correctly, same as natural gas) of uranium! They've promised us it won't hurt the groundwater, just like with the natural gas drilling. Living in a resource-extraction state is grand, ain't it?

More info here for locals. It seems to be stalled now, but if you're in Weld county, you might want to buy some Rad-X and keep an eye out for signs of ghoulification...
posted by hackwolf at 5:32 PM on October 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


No problem: If your water catches fire, just throw some water on it.


No, wait a minute...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:32 PM on October 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


We don't need no water let the motherf*cker burn?
posted by nola at 5:39 PM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Doc: Are you drinking tap water and lighting your flo on fire again?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson"


C'mon baby, light my flo.
posted by Eideteker at 5:46 PM on October 14, 2009


For those interested, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission published the results of the study into all the water wells in that area. (Page 5, PDF): "Analytical results demonstrate that 11 of the wells contain biogenic, or biological generated methane gas; one water well contains only a trace amount of methane and stable isotope analysis was not performed on this sample; and one well sampled contains possible thermogenic methane gas. The sample that contains possible thermogenic gas was collected from a water well located approximately 6 miles to the southwest of the Ellsworth water well and the COGCC will continue to investigate the sources of the gas in both wells."

Not as interesting as the video, though.
posted by Houstonian at 5:47 PM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


good lord, is this ratings week on metafilter... 'cuz I would expect this to be a feature on the 11 pm news...
posted by HuronBob at 5:52 PM on October 14, 2009


So long story short is that this methane was in the well to begin with and isn't a result of natural gas drilling. Makes sense, because the earth doesn't tend to neatly segment oil, natural gas and water in the crust, does it?
posted by empath at 6:07 PM on October 14, 2009


delmoi: Taking a shower with water like that could be a pretty serious fire hazard.

The mind boggles. Can you imagine the new horror scene? Instead of coming after the naked girl with a knife, our killer simply throws a burning log into the shower. Odd.
posted by scrutiny at 6:07 PM on October 14, 2009


So, can we run our cars on tap water?
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:10 PM on October 14, 2009


Price Pfister. The Pfabulous pfaucet with the pflammable pflow.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 6:22 PM on October 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


Pfister? I hardly know 'er!
posted by Eideteker at 6:24 PM on October 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


That water is INFECTED! .... with FIRE!
posted by selfnoise at 6:38 PM on October 14, 2009


Minor self link: Two colleagues of mine have been investigating the cause of this.
posted by Jeff_Larson at 7:05 PM on October 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


re: Your link ...possums.

When I went swimming in Lake Superior about 15 years ago the beach was littered with dead fish.

Lots of people were swimming, but naturally I enquired "Err... guys... dead fish? You sure it's OK to swim?"

And all my American friends were "Yep. All good. Dead fish on the beach is normal."

Just wondering, is this still the case? And any other background on this.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:24 PM on October 14, 2009


The more in depth video WYOMING! from the same person is incredibly interesting. It takes a little while to get started, though.
posted by base_16 at 7:34 PM on October 14, 2009


And all my American friends were "Yep. All good. Dead fish on the beach is normal."

Just wondering, is this still the case? And any other background on this.
I remember this happening every summer growing up on Lake Michigan; there would be a couple of weeks were all the beaches were covered in dead alewives. Even worse, they're not even native to the Great Lakes.
posted by base_16 at 7:40 PM on October 14, 2009


No problem: If your water catches fire, just throw some water on it.

I think you're supposed to throw grease on a water-fire.
posted by albrecht at 7:44 PM on October 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


Just wondering, is this still the case? And any other background on this.

Yeah, Lake Michigan seemed to have a lot of dead fish on the beach, too.

Then again, a lot of the beaches in my area were closed half the season due to high ecoli levels, so maybe not the best example . . .
posted by dinty_moore at 7:52 PM on October 14, 2009


Water burns! Up is down! Dogs love cats! I hate this modern world.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 7:57 PM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Analytical results demonstrate that 11 of the wells contain biogenic, or biological generated methane gas; one water well contains only a trace amount of methane and stable isotope analysis was not performed on this sample; and one well sampled contains possible thermogenic methane gas. The sample that contains possible thermogenic gas was collected from a water well located approximately 6 miles to the southwest of the Ellsworth water well and the COGCC will continue to investigate the sources of the gas in both wells."

This is pretty interesting stuff. So biogenic = near surface, microbial processes and thermogenic = deeper pressure/temperature processes, I'd say they have more than one problem here. The thermogenic may indeed be coming from gas wells, but the biogenic stuff isn't. I wonder if there are any landfills nearby....

Thanks for posting this Sys Rq.
posted by Big_B at 8:07 PM on October 14, 2009


The well water in Petrolia, California smells like brimstone, and now I must go back there in order to try lighting it.
posted by zippy at 9:18 PM on October 14, 2009


We moved to rural OH in 1998 and discovered that our 200 foot well produced water that has both astronomical levels of iron and high levels of natural gas. You can light the water from the tap, though it's just a weak blue flame, not a big WHOOMP. The bigger problem is that the pockets of gas can, when you're washing dishes, cause the water to suddenly blow out of the tap with enough force to knock dishes out of your hands.

I don't know how old the well is, but the house was built during the Civil War.
posted by words1 at 10:48 PM on October 14, 2009


Does this mean I don't need a water heater any more?
posted by Cranberry at 11:31 PM on October 14, 2009


I wonder what their fire department does.
posted by emeiji at 11:35 PM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wonder what their fire department does.

I don't think the methane stays in the water, it just comes out of the faucet.
posted by delmoi at 2:02 AM on October 15, 2009


Favorited so hard. Especially the first sentence. The only thing missing is commentary on the abysmal American power grid. One day soon there won't even be tap water. No power, no water. Fun times ahead.
posted by IvoShandor at 3:29 AM on October 15, 2009


New Trend: Flammable Tap Water

Man, the 21st century isn't gonna be more fucked up than we imagined, it's more fucked up then we can imagine.
posted by The Whelk at 6:36 AM on October 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Does anyone use the word “inflammable” anymore? We were tempted but seems like it’s been pretty much pushed out of use by “flammable.”

I don't know anything about lighting your tap water on fire, but I can provide some information on the flammable vs inflammable war thanks to Origins of the Specious by Patricia T. O'conner.

Inflammable is much older by far, having been around since at least 1605 according to the OED. Flammable showed up around 300 years later. It seems to stem from confusion about the prefix in-. Sometimes in- means "not" or negative such as inflexible or insensitive. Sometimes in- can be an intensifier such as in words invaluable or intense. Inflammable comes from the Latin inflammare meaning to inflame.

The word flammable was coined around early 19th century but wasn't popularized until the National Fire Protection Association started using it in the 1920s because someone in the company decided the in- prefix was confusing.
Insurers and other fire-safety advocates soon joined the cause. In 1959, the British Standards Institution took up the torch: "In order to avoid any possible ambiguity, it is the Institution's policy to encourage the use of the terms 'flammable' and 'non-flammable' rather than 'inflammable' and 'non-inflammable.'"
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:57 AM on October 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Favorited so hard. Especially the first sentence."

It was only one sentence long.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 9:21 AM on October 15, 2009


"Inflammable means flammable? What a country!"
posted by Cogito at 10:45 AM on October 15, 2009


It was only one sentence long.

Snark much about nothing? Pedantic enough? OK, first line.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:19 PM on October 15, 2009


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