A Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. spokesman told the Woodside Town Council Tuesday night, June 28, that fitness testing of the natural gas mains that run under parts of Menlo Park and Woodside should begin the week of July 4.
The testing, PG&E spokesman Jim Cogan said, includes running a remote-controlled camera through the purged and empty pipes, followed by hydrostatic testing -- an infusion of water at much higher pressure than the 32-inch diameter steel pipes ever experience.
Gas service to residences and business will not be interrupted, Mr. Cogan told the council.
The procedure affecting Woodside and Menlo Park is expected to take two to three weeks -- if repairs are not necessary.
If repairs are necessary, they will be taken care of immediately. For example, if the coating is found to be pitted in a spot, that spot will be stripped of its coating, sand blasted and re-coated, said Rick Salaz, a PG&E gas superintendent who attended the meeting.
The last time these pipes were hydrostatically tested was in 1955, when they were installed, Mr. Salaz said but, he added, the pipes are monitored above ground regularly for methane leaks.
After a significant earthquake, methane testers walk the entire pipeline, Mr. Salaz said.
This hydrostatic test involves 158 miles of pipe. The testing should be complete by October, but more testing will be done over the next five years, Mr. Cogan said.
PG&E will be sending post-operation reports of testing results to addresses within 500 feet of the pipeline, he said.
Link to earlier story on pipeline testing.