PG&E pipeline-testing project in Palo Alto begins

Palo Altans may smell gas during venting projects on Aug. 25 and Sept. 3

The PG&E gas-pipeline-testing project began with staging and excavation Thursday (Aug. 11) and will continue through late September, according to a schedule released by the City of Palo Alto Utilities department.

Gas line segments T-29 and T-30, which run through Palo Alto, will be vented of unused gas in order to conduct hydrostatic pressure-testing.

People in north Palo Alto can expect to smell gas on Thursday, Aug. 25, when venting for pipeline segment T-29 will begin. T-29 stretches from Alma Street to Middlefield Road, with dig sites located at 2573 Alma, 3672 Middlefield and 3860 Middlefield.

Residents of south Palo Alto may notice a smell on Wednesday, Sept. 14, when segment T-30 will be vented. T-30 starts at the intersection of Alma and Page Mill Road and continues up Page Mill to Foothill Expressway. Dig sites are located at 650 Page Mill, 925 Page Mill, the corner of Page Mill and Hanover Street and 500 feet north of the intersection of Page Mill and Foothill.

Hydrostatic testing subjects pipes to water pressure 150 percent greater than the pressure allowed under normal gas use.

Tests will "validate a safe operating pressure for the pipeline" and hopefully "reveal weaknesses that could lead to defects and leaks," PG&E officials said last month. Weakened pipes will be repaired or replaced.

The testing schedule is as follows:

■ Thursday, Aug. 25: Venting for pipeline segment T-29 begins (Alma Street to Middlefield Road); smell noticeable in Menlo Park and north Palo Alto

■ Saturday, Sept. 3: Hydrostatic testing of T-29 begins; air movers operate near Oregon Expressway and Alma Street, noise and slight smell noticeable

■ Wednesday, Sept. 14: Venting for pipeline segment T-30 begins (Alma and Page Mill Road, up Page Mill to Foothill Expressway), smell noticeable in Mountain View and south Palo Alto

■ Tuesday, Sept. 20: Hydrostatic testing of T-30 begins

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Like this comment
Posted by Moi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2011 at 1:48 pm

No comments yet? Seriously?

You guys all took the week off or something? Sheila? Anybody?

Like this comment
Posted by Palo Alton
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 17, 2011 at 12:23 am

Wtf? Is this in any way harmful? I am smelling gas. It only makes sense that smelling this for an extended period of time can hurt someone. I can only imagine what it can do to a kid/infant.
What assurances do we have that this "release" isnt going to harm us in the long term? (or even Short term)
concerned resident

Like this comment
Posted by Debra Katz
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2011 at 10:42 am

I am the Communications Manager for the City of Palo Alto Utilities. In case anyone is rechecking this page about this story...some of the information is no longer up to date. The actual testing of the "T-29" section of the pipeline has been delayed to Saturday September 10th, due to problems in cleaning out the line. The pipeline cleaning is part of the preparation for testing. The next steps are to fill the line with water, let the water "settle" and then put the water under high pressure to see if there are any cracks, leaks etc.
For more details, visit and click on the PG&E Pipeline Testing link.

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