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Upstate New York man finds his kitchen faucet spews flames. How is this possible?

  1. Jan 2, 2010 #1
    I just read a news article about a man in upstate NY who claims that gas drilling near his home caused gas to leak into his water supply and out of his faucet. He demonstrated this by holding a lighter near his faucet, which causes sparks to flame up.

    Now, I took chemistry, and know how a bunsen burner works, but shouldn't the gas coming through his faucet be too dilute to cause flames? A bunsen burner has nothing but methane and a odor causing gas going through it. But a faucet, from which mostly water comes out, shouldn't cause a similar effect, since the gas is diluted in the water.

    I an obviously wrong, since the man demonstrated this effect in a youtube video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=<object width="560" height="340"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/TEtgvwllNpg&hl=en_US&fs=1&"></param><param [Broken] name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/TEtgvwllNpg&hl=en_US&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="560" height="340"></embed></object>
    but I don't understand why. Please explain to me how this can happen.

    The article: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/01/02/2010-01-02_upstate_new_york_man_finds_man_blames_gas_drilling_for_flammable_water_.html" [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 2, 2010 #2


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    Methane isn't very soluble in water, so he would have bubbles of gas coming out.
    Since it isn't mixed with air like in a bunsen burner you don't get the intense hot blue flame.
  4. Jan 2, 2010 #3
    There may also be odorless gas comming up from the drain. Who knows what he has down there.
  5. Jan 4, 2010 #4
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