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Wed Jun 27, 2012, 02:02 AM

PG&E says 1956 pipe test led to San Bruno disaster

Source: SF Chronicle

A strength test that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. says it conducted in 1956 of the San Bruno pipeline that exploded in 2010 damaged an already-defective weld and ultimately caused the disaster, the company said Tuesday.

The company made the assertion in defending itself against accusations by California Public Utilities Commission staffers that it failed to conduct such a test, commonly performed using high-pressure water to try to expose any weaknesses, and thus violated pipeline industry standards.

The company based its argument on the recollection of a former employee that a pressure test was conducted on the San Bruno pipeline around the time it was installed.

State regulators have also blamed the company for shoddy record keeping, control room breakdowns, a faulty emergency response to the Sept. 9, 2010, explosion that killed eight people, and a culture that "emphasized profits over safety." If the utilities commission upholds the findings, PG&E could be fined hundreds of millions of dollars.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/PG-E-says-1956-pipe-test-led-to-San-Bruno-disaster-3665019.php

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 02:07 AM

1. I'm no engineer, but seriously? A 54 year old test?

If it damaged the pipe that much you'd think it would've failed a lot sooner, Also, I gotta tell you I'm a little freaked out that they have 50+ year old gas mains in service.

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Response to bluesbassman (Reply #1)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 03:18 AM

4. Maybe someone looked up the statute of limitations. n/t

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 02:09 AM

2. We really need to start revoking corporate charters over this shit

Forget fines of ten thousand dollars or whatever. Blow them out of the water.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 02:30 AM

3. "The company based its argument on the recollection of a former employee"

For safety tests you are usually supposed to keep some paperwork.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 03:39 AM

5. "No one could have anticipated..."

And then, "I believe it was, 'Bin Laden determined to strike inside U.S."


No one could connect all the dots, because there were so many dots, and it's not our fault because of Jamie Gorelick.


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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 04:41 AM

6. Write a check PG&E

make it out to CA General fund

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 04:54 AM

7. Oh and then there is that little fact that the

Guy handling the money coffers of P G & E had set aside some five million dollars to replace that section of pipe,several years before the catastrophe. But the company found other things to do with the money, some of which, IIRC, had come from a state fund for repairs.

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Response to truedelphi (Reply #7)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 09:43 AM

8. Sounds very much like what happened in the BP explosion in Texas City that killed 15 in 2005!

With Tort Reform taking the teeth out of lawsuits, these companies do not worry anymore. The caps on damages for "frivolous " lawsuits mean they don't have to spend a bunch to avoid these situations that they still do not believe will happen. Then they say what was said above, "No one could have seen this coming," and my all time favorite, "we have the best safety program ..." and as you start digging you find that they routinely ignored problems. My guess is that the cathotic protection broke down long ago. This line was way overdue to be replaced.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Reply #8)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 11:25 AM

9. Tort Reform blowback...literally. nt

 

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 12:26 PM

10. Talking with someone in the field, and in the area where it happened, they did a spike test

as an equivalent to a more careful test. Along with allowing the pipeline to be aged, engineers in the field are saying it was the decision to substitute a different test for the more usual test. It was probably cheaper and easier. It's not just one person. That's the trouble with corporations. There are tiers of people, none of which know it all.

Little do people know that many of the San Francisco area's water mains are made of redwood. I keep coming back to how we spend our taxes. Our military is killing us. We should be using our troops to rebuild the country, not tear down the Middle East.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #10)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 02:04 PM

11. i second your idea gregorian.

we need to invest our resources in rebuilding our own communities rather than in trying to control the rest of the world.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 02:19 PM

12. How many other pipes were tested that way?

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