Buried in unknown places and being in unknown states of functioning, beach cables may be dangerous for people.
The cables were buried by the U.S. Coast Guard during the last century. According to the Coast Guard there are 48 sites through 12 states in which cables powering lighthouses and other beacons have been replaced with solar power but the underground cables are probably still in service.
However, the only indication of their presence is in the Coast Guard’s database but nobody could know for sure unless they start digging. The Coast Guard is not even sure if the cables are buried under the beach or near the beach.
Last July in Rhode Island one of these cables caused an explosion on a crowded beach injuring a woman. According to experts, the Salty Brine Beach explosion on July 11 was caused by hydrogen accumulated around a corroded cable. The blast was so powerful that it threw Kathleen Denise off her beach bed 10 feet away against a rock jetty. The woman has been severely injured, having two broken ribs.
According to a list issued by the Coast Guard to Associated Press upon request, most of the sites (about 21) with potentially buried dangerous cables are in Michigan. Other eight sites are in Wisconsin, five in Illinois, three in Indiana and Ohio and two in Minnesota. In Rhode Island, New York, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware there is at least one dangerous site.
Stuart Anderson from Minnesota’s electrical department says he wouldn’t know if the cables are a cause of concern since the department has no jurisdiction over the Coast Guard’s cables and equipment.
On the other side the Department of Natural Resources in Michigan is worried about the presence of unidentified cables which might cause explosions near beaches and according to their spokesman Ed Golder, they intend to contact the Coast Guard. So are the environmental departments in other states with multiple sites.
Spokeswoman with the Coast Guard, Lt. Sarah Janaro claims that the Coast Guard is not worried regarding the cables as there is no evidence that they would pose a threaten over beachgoer’s lives.
According to the Coast Guard, digging up the cables might be more dangerous than letting them be. The risk for workers triggering explosions as they try to dig up the cables might be higher than the risk of cables exploding on their own. However, the Coast Guard is analyzing the situation.
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