San Bruno Pipeline Explosion Followed PG&E Repair Snafu
WASHINGTON (KCBS) – A repair project at Pacific Gas and Electric’s Milpitas facility went awry just before the San Bruno pipeline explosion last September, according to federal documents.
The National Transportation Safety Board documents were reviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle. They found that power was cut to the Milpitas station, which controls a number of gas line transmission lines.
Two backup generators failed to kick in, which allowed pressure to build up on three Peninsula pipelines, including the one that blew in San Bruno.
KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:
In a separate revelation, the San Jose Mercury News found that during the mid ’90s, PG&E decided against digging up part of Line 132, the pipe that runs under San Bruno, because it felt the welds did not pose a safety risk.
The new revelations come as the utility tries to meet a deadline of March 15 to come up with documentation to support their safety protocols.
Richard Kuprewicz, a Washington state-based pipeline safety expert, has been following the NTSB investigation.
“This isn’t soda pop you’re moving. This is high-pressure natural gas that has the capability of doing tremendous damage,” Kuprewicz said. “So you need to know certain things about your pipeline system.”
A preliminary NTSB report found that last September’s blast began in a defective weld along the pipeline seam.
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