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PG&E Halts Intentional Pipeline Pressure Spikes

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San Bruno gas pipeline blast

The remains of a ruptured gas line lie on the ground after an explosion September 10, 2010 in San Bruno. (Eric Risberg-Pool/Getty Images)

SAN BRUNO (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric has halted intentional natural gas line pressure spikes.

The utility made the announcement Monday, a day after the San Francisco Chronicle reported pressure increases to the legal limit may have weakened the San Bruno pipeline before it ruptured on Sept. 9. Eight people were killed and 38 homes were destroyed in the explosion and fire.

PG&E has acknowledged that it briefly raised the pressure on the pipeline two years before the pipeline explosion.

The utility raised the pressure on the line to 400 pounds per square inch for two hours on Dec. 9, 2008. The pipeline normally runs at 375 pounds per square inch.

Experts told the Chronicle that the pressure spikes could have placed a strain on the pipeline and made it vulnerable to failure.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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