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Solano County Man’s Research Questions Pipeline Safety

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Natural gas pipelines

Natural gas pipelines (AP)

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SUISUN CITY (CBS 5) — A year before a pipeline explosion ripped through a San Bruno neighborhood, a Solano County man was already conducting his own research about the pipelines near his house.

Anthony Moscarelli lives yards from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. gas lines and a jet fuel line that serves Travis Air Force Base. In 2009, the retired Lawrence Berkeley Lab worker and a colleague received a $50,000 federal grant to study the pipelines that run parallel to Highway 12 through Suisun City. The pipelines border a number of neighborhoods.

In 2009, the Travis AFB line leaked and just last year Moscarelli smelled gas near his home. He said the lines were put in as long ago as 1959 and the newest one is from 1968. Moscarelli said a leak or explosion could be devastating, along the lines of last year’s San Bruno explosion, because one mishap could ignite the other pipelines.

Based on information he received from both PG&E and the military, he said there is no guarantee these pipelines have been inspected thoroughly.

Photo Gallery: Explosion Rocks San Bruno Neighborhood

PG&E said it does conduct regular inspections and has stepped up its efforts since the San Bruno Blast. The Military said it also inspects its pipeline and there are plans underway to relocate the jet fuel line.

Moscarelli wants the agencies to look at his report, and help with a database that would rate pipelines by age, condition and soil. He also wants older pipelines replaced.

Looking to continue his work, Moscarelli is now in the process of trying to get another grant. When he received his first grant, he was the only one in the country applying. This time around, there are nearly 70 applicants he is now competing with.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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