Safety a top priority for new gas line

PG&E focusing on safety

CHICO, Calif. - PG&E is taking extra precaution during the installation of a new gas line in Chico.

The extra care comes from policy changes made after the San Bruno gas line explosion in September of 2010. The explosion killed eight people, and destroyed 38 homes.

Roy Surges, a PG&E Gas Transmission Project Superintendent, gave Rotarians a synopsis of the company's safety checks at the Chico Rotary Club Tuesday: inspecting gas lines, pressure testing those lines, and replacing them if necessary.

Surges said that since the San Bruno explosion, areas with dense population get first priority.

Now Pacific Gas and Electric is focusing on both Redding and Chico; they're just starting work on a new pipeline on the North Esplanade in Chico.

Surges said he took the explosion personally because he knew two people who died in the explosion, a woman and her daughter.

Surges actually worked with the woman, whose job it was to question what Surges, and PG&E were doing, according to Surges.

"We knew each other pretty well over the course of doing that for a year," Surges said. "And to have that happen was such irony, and it makes you really sad."

PG&E's got a long to-do list for the year 2014: build 143 miles of pipeline, hydro test 848 miles of pipeline, retrofit 199 miles of pipeline for inspection and install 217 automated valves that can be shut off remotely.

Two-thirds of the state's pipeline was installed before 1970.

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