WOODSIDE (CBS SF) — A natural gas pipeline that was undergoing safety testing burst open Sunday afternoon, sending water, mud and rocks across a portion of northbound Interstate Highway 280 in Woodside.

The burst line was first detected a little before 3:30 p.m., when a driver contacted the Woodside Fire Department, saying that a large geyser of water was getting cars on both sides of the freeway wet near Farm Hill Boulevard, said Battalion Chief Kevin Butler.

Moments later, an explosion was reported in the same area, along with a large volume of flowing water.

When firefighters arrived on the scene, they found a large amount of mud, rocks and debris from the hillside east of the freeway scattered across the northbound lanes. There was also a faint smell of natural gas, Butler said.

KCBS’ Tim Ryan Reports:

Butler said they learned that PG&E had been conducting hydrostatic testing of natural gas pipelines in the area, meaning that water is pumped through the lines to detect any weak points.

After the area tested safe for gas levels, fire crews searched the hillside next to the freeway and located a 5 foot by 5 foot crater caused by a ruptured gas line. The crater was located in an easement running behind homes, and the closest house was about 100 yards away, Butler said.

The pipeline that burst had been emptied of gas before testing began.

The mudslide initially shut down all of northbound Interstate 280. The right lane remained closed while crews remove the remaining debris from the road, according to the California Highway Patrol.

There were no injuries, but one vehicle was damaged by pieces of dirt and rock, Butler said.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (12)
  1. Rob Chapman says:

    Let me guess, PG&E will say their testing was a success. Regardless of the fact that this pipeline could have cause another San Bruno type explosion at any time. There is no doubt that there are many other sections of pipe that are on the verge of exploding.

  2. BD says:

    Rob has a good point! We should shut down every gas pipeline in California until they are all tested. Same with electrical lines! We need to test every single one so I suggest we stop all electricity transmission until we can make sure no lines will fall and cause fires.

  3. cletus says:

    gee, willard, i guess it’s not safe?

  4. Steve says:

    At least it was high pressured water this time. Nevertheless, this latest accident is another thing that shows how much work this old pipeline really needs.

  5. miked says:

    PG&E just like the Government, never tell the truth just a little implosion. They probably will not have any records of Hydrostatic Testing. Sort of like San Bruno

  6. mcintorb says:

    The headline refers to an “explosion”. What exploded? Was there ignition, or just the water coming from the burst pipe (which would be quite spectacular, but isn’t an explosion). What was the pressure at failure? How does that compare to operating pressure? Static proof-tests are normally aiming for stresses 50% or more above those expected in operation.

    The reporter, and his/her editor, betray their shallow knowledge of the topic, and continue the fine tradition of short-cut reportage that generates much heat but little illumination.

    1. SG says:

      I used to live in that neighborhood. The last major excavation construction in that area was when the 280 freeway was built some 40 years ago. There wasn’t any law about reporting incidental damage to pipes at that time that I’m aware of . So it makes you think, how many pipes have been damaged over the time when reporting wasn’t required or how many pipes have simply been covered up?

      Oh yes the pipe was ruptured by water. It did not explode

  7. kc says:

    Gee, how can we say China is bad since we have some failed pipe and we don’t have any truth of that.

  8. mo says:

    Sensationalist and misleading reporting,same as with Herman Cain “story.”

    Nothing exploded.

  9. PG&E scam says:

    PG&E is just breaking lines, to give a reason to raise price. They would say they have to raise your rates to fix the lines.

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