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Old PG&E Memo Shows Welding On San Bruno Pipeline Had Bad History

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San Bruno Explosion

Flames are seen in San Bruno’s Crestmoor neighborhood following a gas pipeline explosion, September 9, 2010 in San Bruno. (Getty Images)

TimRyan20100909_KCBS_0232r Tim Ryan
Tim Ryan graduated from CSU Chico with a Journalism degree and work...
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SAN BRUNO (KCBS) – A memo from 1989 has been discovered by Pacific Gas & Electric, which shows that the natural gas transmission line that exploded in 2010 in San Bruno had a history of bad welding.

The memo said an investigation had determined the likely cause of the October 1988 leak was a defective seam weld: the same problem that contributed to the San Bruno blast.

PG&E said the findings of the 1989 leak investigation were not definitive, and therefore did not require it to test the entire 51-mile-long pipeline.

“This kind of information is stuff you just don’t lose or get buried,” said pipeline safety consultant Richard Kuprewicz. “I don’t care how many thousands or millions of documents you have.”

KCBS’ Tim Ryan Reports:

Kuprewicz said that PG&E’s credibility takes a big hit with this latest report and believes that state and federal regulators should once again look at the utility’s record keeping.

“There’s a point where even the average person is going to ask, what the hell is going on down there in California?” he said.

Kuprewicz consults with the utility watchdog group TURN, The Utility Reform Network, which has been heavily critical of the way PG&E has handled the explosion and aftermath.

PG&E said the 1989 memo seems to have little connection to the 2010 tragedy in San Bruno, which killed eight people and leveled dozens of homes.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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