|PG&E strengthens response plans
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has revamped its plans for responding to natural gas pipeline emergencies in Sonoma County, satisfying a recommendation of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
PG&E has now completed four of the safety actions recommended by the NTSB in response to the 2010 pipeline accident in San Bruno, according to a recent letter from the federal agency.
On the eight remaining items, the NTSB considers PG&E’s progress acceptable. The utility expects to close two more actions by early next year, including validating the maximum allowable operating pressure on all of its transmission lines—the large-diameter pipes that carry gas over long distances.
Details of three recently completed recommendations follow:
Emergency procedure: PG&E has established a comprehensive response procedure to large-scale emergencies on gas transmission pipelines. The procedure identifies a single person to assume command and specifies duties for all others involved; includes development and use of trouble-shooting protocols and checklists; and requires periodic tests or drills to show that the procedure can work.
911 notification: PG&E’s gas control room operators, who keep 24-hour watch of the utility’s transmission pipeline network, are now required to immediately notify the 911 call centers for the communities affected when a possible pipeline rupture is detected.
Toxicological tests: PG&E has revised its post-accident toxicological testing to ensure that it’s timely and incorporates all potentially involved employees.
PG&E completed the fourth recommendation as of spring 2012, after having conducted an intensive records search and having validated the maximum allowable operating pressure for its 2,088 miles of transmission pipelines in populated areas.