Almanac

News - September 22, 2010

Menlo Park gas pipe on PG&E watchlist

by Sandy Brundage

When PG&E released a list of its top 100 riskiest gas pipelines on Sept. 20, one Menlo Park pipe appeared on that list.

"We have been assured that these are not 'safety issues,' but are pipelines that need to be watched for upgrades and repair," Mayor Rich Cline said. "If it felt there were danger — PG&E has said they would replace it now."

The only Menlo Park segment appearing on the "top 100 list" of riskiest pipelines is an 18-foot line near Dumbarton Avenue and Donahoe Street, along the East Palo Alto border, according to the PG&E report.

The segments ranked at 1 are the riskiest. Coming in at 95, the Menlo Park line earned a place on the list through a combination of factors, including potential for corrosion, third-party damage, or ground movement; and design characteristics such as age.

However, three main gas pipelines run through The Almanac's circulation area, including Woodside, Atherton and Menlo Park. On a map provided by the National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS), one — 101 — runs along the length of U.S. 101 in Menlo Park.

Pipelines 109 and 132 border U.S. 280, before curving along Sand Hill Road and into Palo Alto.

Line 132, first installed in 1956, is under investigation for the Sept. 9 explosion in San Bruno, The Palo Alto Weekly reported.

PG&E identified segments of all three pipelines as needing retrofits in a report to the state public utility commission last year.

The portion of Line 132 that exploded was not included in the top 100 riskiest pipelines.

— The Palo Alto Weekly contributed to this report.

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