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Thread: San Bruno disaster

  1. #1
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Feb 1998
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    Greensburg, Kansas
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    San Bruno disaster

    What are the planning issues with the San Bruno gas line explosion? The news doesn't cover my questions.

    Was there an easement/right of way?
    I have seen "blanket easements" in farm deeds where the utility company has the right to place a line somewhere on the property. Not surveyed. If one does not check the deed records, the line may not be found until it is too late.

    Was the easement too small for safety?
    I have written subdivision regulations requiring up to 100 foot setbacks from high pressure gas lines. I have also seen such provisions varied for the sake of development.

    At times the news appears to say homes were built over the line. Other times it appears a fireball caused the devastation.

    Anybody in the throbbing brian have the facts?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Total assumptions but;

    Due to;
    The large size of the pipe, 30"
    A large company such as PG&E
    Being a residential subdivision
    Being in California

    I would say this easement was probably recorded properly;

    BIG HOWEVER: After reviewing the damage aerial photos here : http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-...066?source=rss especially photo 25 which shows the linear trench blown out by the pipe in the middle of the picture running up and down would make me think the pipe was buried under the sidewalk easement area. This is NOT usually suggested but this subdivision was also older, 1950/60s, and grass lined easements that are at least 6 feet wide probably weren't typical back then. Like an article mentioned, this pipe couldn't be inspected by traditional means due to design issues http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...,7394168.story .

    Hope that helps a little. A similar accident happened in Edison, NJ about 10-12 years ago look it up; however I believe that was a contractors trying to "bury a truck" in a subdivision under construction and not catastrophic failure.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Jul 2009
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    Quote Originally posted by Tide View post
    Total assumptions but;

    Due to;
    The large size of the pipe, 30"
    A large company such as PG&E
    Being a residential subdivision
    Being in California

    I would say this easement was probably recorded properly;

    BIG HOWEVER: After reviewing the damage aerial photos here : http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-...066?source=rss especially photo 25 which shows the linear trench blown out by the pipe in the middle of the picture running up and down would make me think the pipe was buried under the sidewalk easement area. This is NOT usually suggested but this subdivision was also older, 1950/60s, and grass lined easements that are at least 6 feet wide probably weren't typical back then. Like an article mentioned, this pipe couldn't be inspected by traditional means due to design issues http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...,7394168.story .

    Hope that helps a little. A similar accident happened in Edison, NJ about 10-12 years ago look it up; however I believe that was a contractors trying to "bury a truck" in a subdivision under construction and not catastrophic failure.
    The key is how old the pipe is. Sure, there may be planning issues, but I doubt very seriously we are doing this anywhere today. That is: the planning stuff. Are we installing pipes that may degrade and not maintaining them? That is the bigger problem and not a planning one, save for we may be inadvertently putting people's slapped-up subdivisions too near them.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    Aug 2008
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    Comer, GA
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    Our county is traversed by two big (48" or 36") petrol pipelines that run from the Gulf to DC area.

    One underground leak of benzene wasn't even acknowledeged till years after wells were polluted and people were getting sick. The company responsible bought lots of the property ID'd by test bores, and was delivering drinking water to others.

    They would not even talk to local property owners if they brought along a lawyer.

    Finally they settled with the county guv by giving them 1 million to help with water system install, which agreement was struck by a technically illegal meeting. (Something to do with quorum juggling, local newspaper man was banging his fist on the locked door the whole meeting)

    A cpl yrs later the county passed a 1000 ft buffer rule on both lines.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    Mar 2003
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    So Can anybody estimate how far out the blast was from the site. Then how many more houses will be involved. A co worker of mine had the house next door to her blow up. There was damage in about 12 homes in the cul da sac. The house was blown to toothpicks.

    We have a pipeline over 50 years old not originally made for high pressure gas but it is High pressure now. It worries me. No one will tell me how far back we need to keep people. On one location it goes between a house and their garage. That jsut scares me.
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

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