PG&E plugging remains of San Bruno gas pipeline


At Claremont and Glenview, ground zero of the 2010 pipeline disaster, there's a great sense of relief but since the line has not been in use since the September 2010 explosion, the reaction heard most is one of exasperation over the fact that it has taken nearly two years and the work still isn't finished.

PG&E crews tented over the pipe Tuesday and hooked up suction tanks to try and keep the gas smell from wafting out into the neighborhood. The company is just starting the work of digging down to the 50-year-old pipe that failed in September of 2010 touching off a huge gas explosion and fireball that burned for hours before utility workers could shut it off.

"It's important for us to go through the retirement process and take a look at what exactly is in the ground and then slurry fill that piece of pipe," PG&E spokesman Brittany Chord told ABC7 News. In other words, they're going to fill the pipe with concrete.

Neighbors on Glenview say they're relieved to see the work underway. "I'm glad they're taking care of it. I know there were some options. I think they're cementing it up and I think this will be the best thing over all," one woman said.

"There's a lot of talk and they're doing what they're doing. It's been disruptive. It's like living in a war zone for two years," another woman said.

"We'll be happy when it's filled and it'll all be over and done with," said another.

PG&E says it has tested or verified records for all of the major gas transmission lines under the most populated parts of the Bay Area, but it still has hundreds of miles of pipeline that need testing.

Last month, a report from the state's Consumer Protection and Safety Division raked Pacific Gas and Electric Company saying the utility routinely violated state and federal pipeline safety rules. If the maximum penalties are applied, the company could face more than $200 billion in fines.

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