PG&E Won't Test Palo Alto Pipe

Council Member Wants Weak Pipe Exposed

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    A firefighter fights a huge PG&E gas line explosion and fire rocked San Bruno igniting dozens of homes in an instant.

    PG&E's plans to replace two segments of Line 109 in 2013, but won't test the rest of the pipe for weaknesses in the meantime.

    That's galling Palo Alto Council Member Pat Burt, who took the energy giant to task at a recent meeting, in which he questioned the wisdom of not testing the pipe before it is replaced, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

    Hydro-testing, which the company is using to determine pipeline strength, is expensive, costing up to $1 million per mile, PG&E official Todd Hogenson told Burt.
    PG&E has been under scrutiny since the fatal September 2010 explosion and fire in San Bruno, when a weakened PG&E pipe ruptured.

    Pipes in PG&E's gas network are targeted for replacement because of age, location, construction, and lack of documentation, according to the newspaper.

    All four risk factors apply to this pipe, said Burt, who added that the likelihood of other weaknesses along the 4.6 mile-long pipe, not just the 0.9-mile length to be replaced, are likely.

    It passes near Cubberley Community Center, Hoover Elementary School, Terman Middle School and Gunn High School, the newspaper reported.

    PG&E has reduced pressure on all of its pipes since the fatal explosion. No tests on the entire pipe are planned, the newspaper reported.