San Bruno waits to decide fate of pipe that exploded


Just knowing that the pipeline is still there has been troubling to some residents. Tuesday night the city council tried to balance the emotional trauma of neighbors with the desire to deal with the pipeline with as little disruption as possible.

The small section of transmission line that exploded is long gone, but underneath Glenview Drive there are several thousand feet of pipeline empty, capped off and no longer in use. On Tuesday night neighbors had one desire.

"My concern is that we have a clear, written commitment that they'll never use the pipeline again for natural gas service," said San Bruno resident Kathy DeRenzi.

The San Bruno City Council and residents heard three options for dealing with the remaining pipe: dig it all up, which would take four months and cause major road closures, pump it all full of cement slurry, which would only take a few weeks, or a hybrid plan to dig up a small section and fill the rest with cement.

Tuesday night residents said they did not want the disruption of more roads and sidewalks torn up.

"The construction there's enough already around there. It's really disruptive to the neighborhood. I saw them when they tore a piece of pipe out, which was about three houses down from me," said Dennis Costanzo, san resident

Ed Pellegrini who's about to move back in just wants the pipe plugged and left there. He said, "Now that it's filled up, I don't want to see it anymore. It's a bad memory. For a lot of people they don't even see that pipe, just leave it like it is."

Residents expressed concern that option would flush natural gas odors into the air, a troubling prospect considering what they'd been though.

"All of the gas that's coming out into the air as it's being filled, the air will be ejected and will be scrubbed of any odors," said Pierre Bigras, PG&E director of gas construction," said Pierre Bigras, PG&E director of gas construction.

In the end, the council decided to wait and survey residents along Glenview who would be most affected, although San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane make clear his preference.

"I think we just fill this damn thing and get it done. It will never be used again and we have those assurances and it won't be if it's filled with concrete and I just want to get it done," said Ruane.

A city staff report recommended the hybrid version, which is basically digging up a small portion and filling the rest with cement. Now the city wants to survey the residents and also hear more from PG&E on what they will do to prevent a natural gas odor. PG&E says it will use shareholder money to do whatever the city decides to do.

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