PITTSBURGH (AP) – Pennsylvania’s natural gas utilities say replacing cast iron and uncoated steel lines in their distribution systems that carry gas to homes and businesses will take decades and cost billions of dollars, a newspaper reported.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review cites documents filed with the state Public Utility Commission, which relies on utilities to monitor lines for links.

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The paper said its analysis of federal data indicates that accidents involving the country’s natural gas distribution pipelines have killed more than 120 people and caused more than $775 million damage in the past decade.

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A researcher told the paper that engineers expected the cast iron and bare steel pipes to last about 50 years, but more than one in five miles of Pennsylvania’s gas distribution pipe is older than that.

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