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PG&E Pipeline Project

 

Line 109 Hydrostatic Pressure Testing

Update of Oct 27, 2015

PG&E has confirmed that the pipeline passed the pressure test and no leaks were detected. PG&E is in the process of putting the line back in service and restoring the area. The restoration will take several years.

Update of Oct 22, 2015

The hydrotest was completed on October 21 without incident. Parks Staff has been monitoring the test, and reported seeing no water on the ground after the pressurization was completed. We are still awaiting details from PG&E.

Original Post of Aug 18, 2015

PG&E is required by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to perform occasional safety testing on their pipelines. In the case of Line 109, the older of the two lines that run through Edgewood, this testing consists of removing gas from a segment of the line, then filling it with clean hydrant water, pressurizing it to 150% of the normal gas pressure, and assessing its integrity. This procedure is called hydrostatic pressure testing, or simply hydrotesting.

In order to do this test, PG&E needs to access the pipeline by digging at 3 different locations inside the park (and at a 4th location just outside the park in Woodside).

2 of the digs are 6’x6’ “sniff” holes that we expect will create minimal disturbance, but the third dig is a much larger “bell” hole that will cause a greater impact. Referring to http://photos.foew.org, the locations are:

  • First sniff hole. PG&E refers to this location as Location C. It is at the intersection of the Clarkia and Sunset Trails in map quadrant L-11.
  • Second sniff hole. PG&E refers to this location as Location B. It is within the worksite where the Line 132 elbow was replaced 2 years ago, just slightly west of the Edgewood Trail in quadrant H-7.
  • Bell hole. This is also a part of PG&E’s Location B. The digging will occur in quadrant H-7 just northwest of the point where the Ridgeview Trail does a 90 degree right turn. This hole will be one of the 2 holes (the other, PG&E’s Location A, is in Woodside outside of Edgewood) where water will be inserted or drained. So in addition to digging a hole, PG&E needs to have many more vehicles present, including 2 large water-carrying trucks. What makes this dig particularly problematic is finding a way for these trucks to get to the site. There is currently no service road that will work, so PG&E will have to create a new access route running from the Serpentine Trail to the north down to the site.
Existing Pipeline

Hydrotest Project Map
Blue X’s designate sniff hole sites, red circle is the bell hole site

A team consisting of representatives from Committee for Green Foothills, CNPS, MROSD, Parks Department, Creekside Science, FoE, and of course PG&E has met several times since Jun 2015 to discuss specifics about where the holes will be dug (with close attention to minimizing habitat impacts), the plan for restoring the habitat after the construction is completed, pedestrian and truck traffic management, contingencies in case of water leaks, cleaning of equipment and workers’ clothing, and other concerns.

The project started Aug 18, 2015. Signs have been posted throughout the park advising visitors of the project in progress. There will be periodic closures of some trails throughout the course of the project. The project is scheduled to wrap up around mid-Nov 2015 but monitoring to ensure successful habitat restoration will continue for several years.

If you have questions or concerns about this project, you can email them to pipeline@friendsofedgewood.org.

Line 109 Replacement

Update of Aug 18, 2015

In the year and a half since our last official meeting with PG&E on this subject on Feb 28, 2014, very little progress has been made. PG&E is in the process of conducting an Environmental Quality Assessment (CEQA) but no lead agency has been identified yet, so this effort is stalled.

Original Post of Mar 2014

In October and November 2013, PG&E replaced an elbow in its Line 132, one of two existing gas pipelines routed through Edgewood, as part of their Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan (PSEP). Park visitors may have noticed the mowing, digging, and subsequent restoration on two small plots of land near the west kiosk (see Figure 1). PG&E is still in the process of restoring these sites. Friends of Edgewood is working with the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) to oversee the restoration and ensure it is done properly so that no habitat degradation occurs.

Existing Pipeline

Existing Gas Pipelines
[source: http://www.pge.com/safety/systemworks/gas/transmissionpipelines/
with annotations]


The PSEP is PG&E’s multi-year gas transmission system overhaul mandated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) following the San Bruno incident (http://www.friendsofedgewood.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/PSEP.pdf). The plan includes laying a new gas pipeline and decommissioning the Edgewood segment of Line 109, which is old (circa 1930s) and substandard (22-inch rather than 24-inch diameter). PG&E has chosen to install the new pipeline through the heart of Edgewood Park.

In order to determine the route of this new pipeline, PG&E evaluated four alternatives (see Figure 2).

Pipeline Routing Analysis

Figure 2. New Pipeline Alternative Routes
[source: PG&E’s Edgewood Preserve Routing Analysis, dated
November 13, 2013; with annotations]

The “Existing Alignment” route parallels the alignment of the existing Line 109. The “Service Corridor” route is a straighter version of the “Existing Alignment” route. The “Substation” route skirts the wetland near the Clarkia Trail, eventually joining Cañada Road and following it to Edgewood Road, then up Edgewood Road to rejoin the existing Line 109. The fourth route, “Ridgeline,” completely avoids Edgewood, traveling through SFPUC Watershed lands on Edgewood’s east boundary, and then under Cañada Road and Edgewood Road.

PG&E has chosen the Service Corridor route and identifies 12 reasons for their decision. These reasons are described on pages 26 and 27 of their routing analysis document. Among them are that this route is the shortest, most direct, will be the simplest to construct, and will be the easiest to operate and maintain. They also claim that this route complies with the Edgewood Master Plan and will cause the least impact to environmental resources, two claims with which we strongly disagree.

A “Pipeline Committee” has been formed, consisting of representatives from Friends of Edgewood, Committee for Green Foothills, the local Santa Clara Valley chapter of the California Native Plant Society, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD), and Creekside Center for Earth Observation.

We have had two formal meetings with PG&E in an effort to convince them to choose the Ridgeline route. Our arguments are:

  • Ridgeline is the only route that completely circumvents Edgewood.
  • The other three routes pass through Edgewood, in violation of the County’s General Plan, the Edgewood Park Master Plan, and the MROSD easement.
  • The other three routes will cause irrecoverable damage to the grasslands inhabited by the Bay checkerspot butterfly, Marin western flax, and White-rayed pentachaeta, all species on the Federal Endangered Species List.

You can find our detailed arguments here.

At our last meeting on Feb. 28, 2014, PG&E told us they would consider our recommendation. Since then, we have had no meaningful feedback. We will, of course, be delighted if PG&E does the “right thing,” but we are currently making plans to fight vigorously if they do not. Without going into details, there are many legal and environmental hurdles that PG&E must overcome, and we believe we can prevent PG&E from disturbing Edgewood.

In the coming weeks, we intend to broaden our support base by engaging more community members. Many of you will recall the valiant fight waged by the Save Edgewood Park Coalition in the early 1990s that resulted in the designation of Edgewood as a Natural Preserve, defeating plans to develop a golf course. We hope you will join us in our battle to Save Edgewood Park again.

In case you are wondering about the impact of digging a new pipeline through Edgewood, imagine an 80-foot wide swath of land stretching approximately 1 mile between the eastern and western boundaries going right across Serpentine grassland, looking like the work site shown in Figure 3.