PGE: Pipeline leaks 'fairly normal'

Oct. 26, 2010 at 8:15 PM

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Pacific Gas & Electricity said Tuesday finding 38 leaks in its natural gas pipelines after a deadly explosion in the San Francisco area is "fairly normal."

California ordered the company to inspect its 2,500-mile system. Four of the leaks were in high-pressure pipelines, KGO-TV reports.

The PG&E report also said valves now operated manually should be converted to automatic or remote operation, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. After the explosion last month in San Bruno, which killed eight people and leveled dozens of houses, closing two valves on either side of the rupture took almost 90 minutes.

U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., held a meeting for local officials and the company. She said the company told her replacing valves can take as long as nine months.

The company downplayed the significance of the leaks, KGO said.

"I would say that is a fairly normal outcome of that," a company spokesman, Denny Boyles, said. "We have thousands of miles of transmission lines, many more thousand miles of distribution lines and we assess them on an ongoing basis."

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