PG&E releases pipeline assessment to CPUC

PG&E releases pipeline assessment to CPUC

October 25, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The San Bruno neighborhood devastated by that deadly pipeline explosion now has another menace to deal with. Retaining walls burned in the fire have left some homes in jeopardy of sliding down into the canyon. PG&E has just released its report on what it's done since the disaster.

About a month ago, the California Public Utilities Commission ordered PG&E to do an assessment of its entire system. On Monday night, PG&E filed the report with the CPUC and a quick look at it shows PG&E is evaluating 300 locations for replacing manually-operated valves with automatically or remotely-controlled valves. They surveyed 16 miles of transmission pipeline around the San Bruno area and found no integrity issues needing immediate repair. In a survey of the entire transmission system, PG&E found and dealt with four leaks on main transmission pipelines and on 34 other facilities, which did require immediate repair.

In the Crestview neighborhood, new problems related to the fire continue to surface. A chunk of Bill and Nellie Bishop's backyard fell away into Crestmoor Canyon with the weekend rain. The wooden retaining wall that has held the yard and patio in place for decades burned in the pipeline fire.

"We've said to each other it would be a shame to survive the fire and then have our house slide down the hill," said Nellie Bishop

Just one house down, begins the stretch of empty lots, where homes destroyed by the fire once stood.

The city will rebuild their retaining wall, and three more along the canyon.

"Right now they're starting to rebuild a new retaining wall in front of this one, and then they're going to backfill it, and make sure that we don't slide down the hill," said Bill Bishop.

The erosion threat is increased by a runoff drainage pipe that empties into the canyon.

The city of San Bruno says as part of the retaining wall project, the canyon floor will be filled with boulders and there will also be work done on the slopes, now stripped of stabilizing vegetation. The entire project will come in around $860,000.

"We've applied for state and federal disaster, PG&E is involved, so whole financing of it is to be sorted out, but at this point the city is fronting the money and contracting for the service," said Jim O'Leary, director of administrative services.

The city says this is only the first phase of canyon stabilization.

"This work, while some of it will be permanent, the exact strategy of what's being done now is just winterization for this year and we will have to go in next spring and summer and do additional work," said O'Leary.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, will hold a closed-door meeting in her office on Tuesday with PG&E and mayors from the Bay Area to go over the PG&E report.


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