PG&E Crew, Not Contractors, Built Faulty San Bruno Pipe

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBC Bay Areas

    At least part of the blame game is over, with PG&E taking responsibility.

    The natural gas pipeline that exploded in San Bruno in  September, killing eight people, was built in 1956 by a PG&E work crew, not outside contractors, according to documents released Monday.

    The revelation means the agency and outside advocates are scrambling to uncover what other pipes were welded by the same work crew. It was a faulty weld seam that rupture on the pipe Sept. 8, 2010, creating an inferno that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes.

    The pipe had more than 150 flaws in welds that attached the pipe together in six sections. The pipe failed while operating below its maximum pressure.

    The 30-inch pipe was not a new pipe, instead part of pipes left over from other jobs in 1948, 1949 and 1953, according to reports.

    Problems with welds were hardly unique to the line in San Bruno, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Weld problems linked to gas leaks were identified in more than a dozen cities, including San Jose in July 2010, Oakland in 2005 and San Rafael in 1997 and 1998.

    Besides two other welding problems previously revealed on that line -- one in a 1988 leak in San Mateo and another in a 2009 leak in South San Francisco -- the documents said an additional leak happened on line 132 in Sunnyvale in 1968.