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California Map Predicts the Next Deadly Gas Explosions

The explosion last week of a gas transmission line in San Bruno, California has prompted local utility PG&E to release some enjoyable bedtime reading–a list of the 100 riskiest gas line segments in California.

PGandE riskiest gas lines map

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The explosion last week of a gas transmission line in San Bruno, California has prompted local utility PG&E to release some fun bedtime reading–a list (PDF) drafted last year of the 100 riskiest gas line segments in California. The most disconcerting part: The 30-inch section of gas line that exploded and killed at least seven people in San Bruno was never labeled high-risk. So the 33,503 feet of pipelines listed here are the ones that are, really, really likely to malfunction.

The “Long Range Gas Transmission Pipeline Planning Input” list doesn’t include any pipeline segments in San Francisco, but it does warn of some nearby dangerous spots in Novato, San Rafael, and San Jose, among other locations. One of the largest risky pipeline segments can be found in Elk Grove, where an 8,900-foot section of pipe is set to be replaced next year because of faulty design elements.

SF Weekly reports:

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When asked what use area residents could make of a list of risky pipes that didn’t include the one that ruptured and killed at least seven people, [Chris Johns, president of PG&E] put it this way: “They
can learn from this, maybe, that they’re near a section of pipe we’re
monitoring because of construction, or we’re planning to replace two
years from now for preventive maintenance. They can take security that
we are constantly trying to look out where risks are so we do the
maintenance ahead of time.”

So while PG&E has recently offered up some expensive (and admirable) renewable energy projects, we have to hope that the utility is willing to shell out as much as it takes to stop city blocks from exploding. Renewable energy doesn’t mean much if you’re not alive to use it.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.

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About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more

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