PG&E says ruptured pipeline was damaged by backhoe some time after 1947

A PG&E natural gas pipeline that exploded during pressure testing on Sunday afternoon, causing a mudslide across Interstate Highway 280 in Woodside, was likely damaged by a backhoe, a utility spokesman said today.

PG&E crews this morning were determining how to extract and replace the damaged section of Line 132, which ruptured during hydrostatic testing on a knoll above Highway 280 near Farm Hill Boulevard at about 3:20 p.m., PG&E spokesman David Eisenhauer said.

Click the picture for a slideshow of the ruptured pipe and the mudslide.

A preliminary investigation indicated that the section of pipe that ruptured had been damaged by a backhoe sometime after the line was installed in 1947. PG&E is looking into when that damage might have occurred and what agency might have been responsible, Eisenhauer said.

The explosion left a 5-foot-by-5-foot crater in the hillside, and water from inside the pipeline caused a mudslide that reached northbound Highway 280 and blocked two lanes for about four hours, California Highway Patrol Officer Art Montiel said

No one was injured.

The test was being conducted as part of an ongoing safety evaluation of natural gas transmission lines in “high consequence” or highly populated areas, Eisenhauer said.

“That’s exactly why we do these type of safety tests, to find weaknesses in the pipeline,” Eisenhauer said.

PG&E crews have conducted pressure tests on more than 120 miles of pipeline since April.

Eisenhauer said no homes or buildings were damaged by Sunday’s rupture, and that the utility employs different testing strategies on pipelines that run directly through neighborhoods, such as placing cameras or “pigs” that run inside the pipes to detect corrosion or faulty seams.

Last week, PG&E found a 1-millimeter leak in Line 132 in Palo Alto, and last month a line ruptured in Bakersfield during hydrostatic testing.

A faulty seam on Line 132 ruptured in San Bruno on Sept. 9, 2010, causing an explosion that killed eight people and damaged 38 homes.

Bay Area NewsLocalPeninsulaPG&ESan Bruno

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

 

was likely damaged by a backhoe

Just Posted

Mental health, suicide hotlines brace for surge of crisis calls

Responders feel the weight of the coronavirus-related calls themselves

SFUSD reduces food pick-up days, sites

The district will still provide five days worth of meals for children

In a time of isolation, the demand for animal companions has increased

Flooded with requests to foster or adopt, shelters and rescue groups move operations online

San Francisco sees fifth coronavirus death, 340 cases

Mobile testing sites will be expanded to Sunset, Chinatown this week

Chinatown SRO tenants fear close quarters will spread coronavirus

Shared kitchens, bathrooms make it difficult to avoid contagion

Most Read