Legislation introduced on plastic pipeline safety

October 13, 2011 9:22:33 PM PDT
Twelve hundred miles of potentially-dangerous plastic pipeline is being used in PG&E's systems and on Thursday, two Bay Area lawmakers are taking steps to change that.

ABC7 saw firsthand the damage that plastic pipelines can cause when a natural gas leak from the pipes caused a condominium fire in Cupertino over the summer.

Jerry Hill and Paul Fong said the gas pipeline explosion in Cupertino and another explosion on September 28 in Roseville should have never happened. Both lawmakers say recommendations made the National Transportation Safety Board in 1998 were simply ignored.

"They made recommendations," said Hill. "They were very clear and conscious, and PG&E didn't follow them, and the Public Utilities Commission did not require PG&E to follow them."

The legislation Hill and Fong unveiled on Thursday would require the utility commission to enforce recommendations made by the NTSB, and that is something residents in Cupertino support.

"The general idea is, oh boy is it ever needed," said condo resident Karen Jacobson. "Thank goodness."

PG&E admits it knew about safety concerns with the ADYL-A plastic pipe and is now stepping up its effort to fix those problems.

"We've kept a close eye on ADYL-A pipe through our system over the years," said PG&E spokesperson Brian Swanson "If there were areas where ADYL-A pipe was showing more leaks than typical we would go in and make those repairs and make the system stronger."

There are now weekly gas inspections at the Cupertino complex where there are 6,000 feet of the problem pipe. Two days ago, a new discovered a leak in front of the unit of Douglas Pasos.

"He said they dug up this area and apparently said this area was burned by the gas," Pasos said. "(They said) there was definitely a leak."

Hill says his legislation will close a loophole that has allowed PG&E to put profits ahead of safety.

"They keep telling us they are for safety, they want to spend the money, they want to do the right thing," Hill said. "If there is a recommendation, follow the recommendation and now we are going to make sure they do."


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