PG&E begins digging up old pipeline

July 28, 2011 7:26:33 PM PDT
The search for clues continued in San Bruno on Thursday where PG&E is digging up a section of pipe abandoned since the mid-1950s. At one time, it was part of the same line that exploded last September.

The section of pipe has been in the ground since 1948 and has gone unused since 1956, the same year Line 132 was re-routed slightly to accomodate the new housing development.

The CPUC wants to take a look at pipe from the original Line 132 as a part of its investigatino into the explosion along a segment of the replacement pipe. An eight-foot sectino will be cut out on Glenview just north of Claremont, then handed over to the CPUC.

There will be another excavation point 250 feet southwest, just feet from the ruptured site at Glenview and Earl, so a camera can inspect the inside of the entire length of the abandoned pipe.

"It's basically, put the camera in at one end and retrieve it on the other," said PG&E's David Eisenhauer.

The National Transportation Safety Board says the September 2010 rupture started on one of multiple pipes with poorly-done welds, though PG&E records had shown a seamless 30-inch steel pipe.

The NTSB is expected to issue its report on the probable cause in about a month. The explosion and resulting fire killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes.

"It's good to see all the houses going up," said resident Bob Pellegrini, whose home was among those destroyed. "I heard there are five mroe close to getting permits pulled. Nice to see the neighborhood getting back to some normalcy."

Pellegrini is anxious to know what the NTSB and the CPUC discover in their investigations.

"It's been a real draining experience," Pellegrini said. "Something I never thought I'd have to take on. That's how life is, it happens. Problem is, I think it could have been avoided. I wish it never happened."

PG&E's excavation is expected to be completed by Friday evening.

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