PG&E identifies 34 gas leaks in Folsom so far, fixes 30

PG&E crews repair Folsom gas Leaks

PG&E crews fanned out in Folsom to repair gas leaks. Spokeswoman Brandi Merlo explains.
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PG&E crews fanned out in Folsom to repair gas leaks. Spokeswoman Brandi Merlo explains.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. crews fanned out across eastern Folsom on Friday to detect and repair leaks in natural gas lines.

A vacant lot at the corner of East Bidwell Street and Oak Avenue Parkway served as a staging area. Brandi Merlo, a PG&E spokeswoman, said Friday afternoon that about 80 surveyors were in the field, inspecting neighborhoods on foot, and nine repair crews were fixing leaks.

As of early Friday afternoon the survey was about 60 percent completed. Merlo said 34 leaks had been detected and 30 of those had been repaired. The work, she said, would continue through Friday and likely into Saturday.

A high-pressure problem at a gas regulator in Folsom was detected Wednesday morning by personnel at PG&E’s San Ramon gas control center, Merlo said. The utility took the gas regulator station out of service when the pressurization problem was found.

To fix the high-pressure problem, crews are going through areas with vehicles that act as highly sensitive methane “sniffers.” The 10 Picarro vehicles are sport-utility vehicles with equipment that analyzes air content and wind direction, Merlo said.

Joseph Dekelaita, a gas compliance representative, said the vehicles typically do their work at night, traveling down streets about 25 mph to gather data. The data are used the next day to direct crews to sites of suspected leaks.

One repair crew was working Friday afternoon in a business park off Iron Point Road, where a leak had been found in a service line just below a meter, Merlo said.

She described the area affected by the pressure problem as generally eastern Folsom: southwest of Appian Way and Silva Valley Parkway, northeast of Highway 50 at Folsom Boulevard, southeast of Greenback Lane at Folsom Powerhouse State Park, and northwest of Highway 50 at White Rock Road.

As of Friday afternoon, she said, there had been no disruption of service to customers.

Gas normally comes into the regulator under high pressure, then is dispersed to customers at a lower pressure, said Karly Hernandez, a PG&E spokeswoman. An investigation is underway to determine why the high pressure event occurred.

Gas pressure was too high in lines past the regulator station. When that occurs, PG&E reduces pressure on the line and takes the regulator station out of service.

Hernandez said PG&E is also is seeking to learn whether the high pressureis the direct cause of the leaks.

“There is no consistent pattern to overpressurization events,” Hernandez said. “Until the investigation is complete, we cannot identify the cause.”

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy