News Details

PG&E Gas Pipeline Projects in Palo Alto

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The City of Palo Alto Utilities supplies electricity and natural gas to all residents and businesses in Palo Alto.   However, we have to transport these commodities from where they originate to our town via pipelines and electric lines owned by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E).  This web page provides updates on various PG&E projects related to those transport pipelines and electric lines in Palo Alto.


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Status Update--September 3, 2014

NEW PROJECTS-2014
As a result of a recent mandates for further pipeline safety work, PG&E is conducting some new projects in Palo Alto. 

Daytime inspections using the "PIG' launching station along Hwy 101-- began with some minor setup work and gas releases on September 3. PG&E will be setting up traffic controls and equipment in the area of East Bayshore and Embarcadero mid-September to the the end of September. PG&E plans to begin their "PIG" launching procedures the week of October 6. During this period, PG&E will operate between the hours of 7 am to 7 pm. Businesses in the area have been notified of the work. All equipment and traffic controls are expected to be removed by the beginning of November.

FINISHED WITHIN THE LAST YEAR:

Minor excavation work--In June 2014, small excavations around the gas pipeline were conducted at night on Page Mill Road, Alma and California Ave.

PIG Launching Station on E. Bayshore--work began in summer 2013 and in March 2014, the PIG was launched! The newly built sending/receiving station for internal inspection devices (PIGs) for PG&E transmission pipeline #101 has now been activated. The process of shepherding the "PIG" requires occasional gas releases, which may cause people in businesses or commuters to notice a "gas smell" in the immediate area on occasion.

Electric Transmission Tower project--started last October, this project finished in late 2013 and raised the height of two electric transmission towers along San Francisquito Creek, near the Golf Course and moved one of the towers to allow widening of the creek to mitigate flooding.  
 

Survey of Gas Pipelines (#101, 109 & 132)--PG&E conducted, starting last August,an "above-ground" surveys along the paths of all three pipelines to be sure there were no structures, trees or other obstructions on top of the pipelines.  That survey was completed in late November 2013. 

Gas Transmission Line #109 

MIRANDA/FOOTHILL PIPELINE REPLACEMENT PROJECT
FINISHED--August 2013! 

  • SPECIAL NOTE TO GUNN HS students and parents: U-TURNS are always ILLEGAL in this area. The Miranda bus stop area is NOT a good place for drop off.

CHARLESTON ROAD PIPELINE REPLACEMENT PROJECT
FINISHED--October 2012!

Gas Transmission Line #101
(runs near East Bayshore Drive, next to Highway 101) 

PIG Launching Facility (July 2013- March 2014)

Pipeline Casing Inspection
--
Finished October 2012
Excavation conducted to allow inspection of pipeline casing in a commercial parking lot area off Geng Road (near Embarcadero).
.


Corrosion Inspection---
Finished September 2012
This excavation at the intersection of Embarcadero and E. Bayshore Road was conducted to allow a pipeline corrosion inspection.  
 

Gas Transmission Line #132
(runs in zig-zag fashion from Middlefield to Alma to Page Mill Road and beyond).

Hydrotest Finished: Fall 2011. 

Smart PIG Valve Project--Finished July 2013  (Excavation near 2500 block of Alma Ave. to access valves. Repaving finished late August, 2013. 

Impacts on Palo Altans

Everyone in Palo Alto extends special THANKS to those people who are bearing the brunt of dealing with the smell, noise and traffic impacts of the many PG&E pipeline-related construction projects.  Despite the inconveniences, we all can appreciate the value of verifying the safety of these pipelines!

 
PG&E Transmission Pipeline Overview
(information supplied by PG&E)

PG&E has 3 main transmission pipelines that traverse the city of Palo Alto. They are referenced as #101, #109 and #132.  The #132 pipeline is the one involved in the San Bruno incident and is the only one of the three pipelines required to be tested in PG&E's current hydrostatic testing project.

PG&E’s line #132 
Running roughly 55 miles long and stretching from Milpitas to South San Francisco, Pipeline #132 is only one of many transmission pipelines involved in PG&E’s current statewide testing.  (See testing history at the bottom of this page). Per agreement with the CPUC, PG&E assignment was to hydrostatically test a total of approximately 160 miles of transmission pipeline statewide.  The criteria for selecting the portions to be tested were the age of the pipelines and the absence of good records regarding previous testing. 

PG&E’s line #109
The Palo Alto portion of this pipeline, which also runs along Middlefield from Mountain View but then turns up East Charleston/Arastradero Road, continuing north along the Foothill Expressway, has had about 2/3 of its length replaced in recent years.   

Originally installed portions of this pipeline---running along Charleston between Alma and Middlefield and then paralleling the Foothill Expressway along Miranda Avenue---are being replaced this summer.
 
PG&E’s line #101
This pipeline runs roughly parallel to Highway 101 and all of the Palo Alto portions of this pipeline have been replaced since the requirement for hydrostatic testing was in place and there are validated records of passing this test.  In order to perform ongoing corrosion tests, PG&E excavated around a portion of this pipeline (near Embarcadero Road and East Bayshore) during summer 2012.

PG&E is installing a permanent "in the pipeline inspection device" (called a PIG) launching station adjacent to East Bayshore Road that will allow regular, ongoing inspections of pipeline #101 from hereon in.  Construction of this facility is taking place Summer 2013.


CONTACT INFO FOR MORE DETAILS

General concerns or queries can be directed to the City of Palo Alto Utilities Communications Manager by calling (650) 329-2417 or emailing catherine.elvert@cityofpaloalto.org   

Public and media calls about specific timing and details should be directed to PG&E at the numbers below.  

  • PG&E Customer Care gas specialist representatives at 1-888-743-7431, between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • Or call 1-800-743-5000 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Or visit the PG&E website
    • General Natural Gas System Info www.pge.com/gassystem/    
    • Map of PG&E gas transmission pipelines: www.pge.com/pipelinelocations/   
    • Details on hydrostatic pressure testing www.pge.com/myhome/edusafety/systemworks/gas/pipelinesafety/hydrostatictesting/index.shtml 
PG&E Language Assistance: 

Spanish: Para ayuda en español por favor llame al 1-800-660-6789.
Chinese: 1-800-893-9555.
Tagalog: 1-888-743-7431.
Vietnamese: 1-800-298-8438.

Gas Pipeline #132 HYDROSTATIC TESTING HISTORY in Palo Alto (2011)
(based on data provided to Utilities staff by PG&E)

    • September 10: Testing of the Middlefield to Alma section of the pipeline was successfully completed and this pipeline section was restored to full service.
    • October 30: Hydrotest of the first of two portions of the T-30 (Page Mill Road) pipeline segment was successfully completed.
    • November 3-14: Small (1 millimeter) leak found in the second portion of the T-30 pipeline segment at Page Mill Road, south of Hanover.  The entire segment was hydrotested once again and passed without incident.
    • November 18-20: T-30 pipeline was restored to normal operation.
    • December through February 2012: PG&E conducted general clean up and restoration of all the areas of activity (Alma Street, Page Mill Road, Park Avenue).  PG&E conducted a verification dig in early February at Alma and Oregon to inspect the pipeline casing, which is not part of the pipeline itself. 

Last Updated June 24, 2014