San Carlos line in question cleared by PG&E

A natural-gas pipeline in San Carlos that ranked among PG&E’s most pressing maintenance projects has been inspected and declared problem-free, officials said.

The segment near Brittan Avenue and El Camino Real appeared on the utility company’s list of the
100 highest-priority pipeline projects, which was released about two weeks after the Sept. 9 explosion in San Bruno.

PG&E officials put the 105-foot section on the list because local engineering staff had been directed to “evaluate the design and materials used in the segment,” company spokesman Joe Molica said.

After an engineering evaluation in late October, the utility “confirmed that this segment is operating within all the specifications and no further work is necessary,” Molica said. It will be removed from the next version of the list.

The segment is part of a line that connects the two main transmission pipes running up the Peninsula to San Francisco.

San Carlos officials said they were pleased with the utility’s response, even though they were not given many details about the pipeline in question. Residents will have a chance to question PG&E experts at a community meeting scheduled for Tuesday.

“It’s comforting to know they’ve taken a look at it — they had questions and their questions are now answered,” Assistant City Manager Brian Moura said.

The existence of the PG&E pipeline list made news the week after the San Bruno blast, which killed eight people and destroyed 35 homes, and the company soon faced heavy pressure from lawmakers to make the information public.

Molica emphasized that the list is a planning tool that takes into account factors like a pipe’s design, potential for corrosion, potential for third-party construction damage and proximity to densely populated areas.

An 18-foot pipeline section in East Palo Alto — the only other segment in San Mateo County that is on the list — also underwent a recent engineering review that determined no repairs or other action were needed, so it too will be removed from the list, Molica said.

Moura said San Carlos officials were somewhat surprised that PG&E picked the segment underneath Brittan Avenue since that pipeline was only installed in the early 1990s when a raised train crossing was built.

In any case, San Carlos officials said they were happy that everything checked out fine.

“Now that it’s off the list, I’m very pleased to see they reacted promptly,” Mayor Randy Royce said.

Despite the segment leaving the list, that “doesn’t mean we [will] forget about it,” Molica said. “We’ll continue to monitor this with all the other tools we have.”

sbishop@sfexaminer.com

San Carlos meeting on natural-gas safety

PG&E experts will be on hand at a meeting next week to explain the utility company’s transmission system in San Carlos, share gas-main safety tips and answer questions.

WHEN: Open house begins 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, meeting starts at 7 p.m.

WHERE: Second-floor meeting room, San Carlos Library, 610 Elm St.

Source: City of San Carlos

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