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PG&E Repairs Dozens Of Northern California Gas Pipeline Leaks

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Natural gas pipelines

Natural gas pipelines (AP)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)- Pacific Gas and Electric has released the results of its accelerated leak survey of its transmission pipelines, which showed that it has found and repaired 59 leaks on gas pipelines.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

PG&E was ordered by state regulators to inspect the entire system following the San Bruno blast. A preliminary report in October tallied 38 “grade one” leaks in transmission lines, and the final report identifies an additional 21.

“It’s important to note that these were all fixed immediately,” said PG&E spokesman Denny Boyles.

The leaks are a probable hazard, but are rarely the cause of a rupture like the one that occurred in San Bruno.

“When we find this level of leak we leave a crew member at the scene and begin repairs immediately,” said Boyles.

Leaks were found throughout the service area, which includes not only the Bay Area, but also the central valley, and all the way up to Humboldt County.

“Statistically we have fewer leaks per 1,000 miles of transmission pipeline than is the average in the industry,” said Boyles.

PG&E inspected more than 6,500 miles of pipeline using ground and aerial surveys. Over the next six weeks, the utility expects to determine on which pipes it has records of pressure tests.

Meanwhile, PG&E  has been searching pipeline records in 20 field offices in an effort to verify the safety of natural gas pipelines.

The utility was searching through 1.25 million records and said it will take about six weeks to complete.

PG&E executive Brian Cherry wrote the California Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday to say the utility is aggressively examining records throughout Northern and Central California.

State officials ordered the records search at the urging of federal transportation safety investigators probing pipeline blast.

(© 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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