Category Archives: Regulation

Mike Feuer Calls Upon Public Utilities Commission to Provide Gas Pipeline Safety Information

Feuer Requests Answers to Concerns Raised by Investigation of San Bruno Pipeline Rupture.

Assembly Member Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) has asked the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to provide information about the safety of gas pipelines in Feuer’s district after a devastating explosion in San Bruno, California raised questions about the safety of aging pipeline infrastructure.  In a letter dated June 10, 2011, Feuer called for the CPUC’s assistance in obtaining answers to a number of specific concerns identified by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in its investigation of the pipeline rupture in San Bruno.

“The safety of my constituents is my number one priority, which is why I called on the CPUC to provide answers to a comprehensive set of questions about the safety of the pipelines running through neighborhoods in my district,” said Feuer. “I want to ensure that residents and businesses have the information they need to protect their families and workplaces.”

After the San Bruno disaster, Feuer’s office met with representatives from Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), whose pipelines serve most of Southern California, to discuss issues of pipeline safety.  This session, Feuer supported Assembly Bill 56, legislation designating the CPUC as the state authority responsible for the development and administration of a safety program for natural gas pipelines. Feuer’s current request to the CPUC seeks information that would increase transparency and communication between SoCalGas and the communities it serves.

“I am asking for the CPUC’s help to gather information about SoCalGas pipelines to increase public awareness and promote industry practices that will contribute to safer communities,” Feuer stated.

In his letter to the CPUC, Feuer asked a number of specific questions, among them:

  • Has SoCalGas identified all gas transmission lines in the District that have not previously undergone a testing regimen designed to validate a safe operating pressure?
  • What steps has SoCalGas taken to ensure it is basing operating pressures on accurate information contained in its records?
  • Where are the high consequence areas (HCAs) located within the 42nd District?  Have residences, businesses, schools and other institutions been made aware of their proximity to the HCAs?
  • Does each high-pressure pipeline identified by SoCalGas pursuant to the NTSB recommendations have an automatic or computerized shut-off valve?  If not, why not, and when could a plan be developed to install and pay for such valves?

A complete copy of Feuer’s letter to the CPUC can be found here.

The 42nd Assembly District includes all or part of the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Sherman Oaks, Studio City, North Hollywood, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Toluca Lake, Universal City, Griffith Park, West Los Angeles, Brentwood, Bel Air, Holmby Hills, Beverly Glen, Westwood, Century City, Hollywood, Fairfax, Hancock Park, Los Feliz and the Cities of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood.

SOURCE: http://studiocity.patch.com/articles/feuer-calls-upon-public-utilities-commission-to-provide-gas-pipeline-safety-information-to-42nd-district-residents

Engineers use Route 23 bridge in Wayne to study corrosion

WAYNE – An international team of engineers and researchers, each dressed in a yellow vest and hard hat, on Tuesday poked and prodded – so to speak – at a steel string bridge, looking for signs of deterioration & corrosion.

International engineers conduct a study of highway bridge deterioration using a bridge on Route. 23 in Wayne for the test.

As drivers whizzed by without giving thought to the condition of the structure, the engineers were unleashing a variety of high tech tools – ground penetrating radar, ultrasonic equipment and impact echoing technology – to aid them in evaluating the bridge deck that spans Route 23. The bridge carries traffic over Mountainview Boulevard in Wayne.
They are part of the “International Bridge Study,” a project organized by the Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation at Rutgers University in June 2010. It brings together engineers and researchers from Japan, Switzerland, Austria, Korea, the United States and other nations to study the North Jersey bridge, according to Carl Blesch, a spokesman for Rutgers University.

Their purpose is two-fold. They are looking for ways to identify bridge corrosion early so that it can be treated earlier – when the cost is less expensive. They are also looking for ways to treat corrosion that extends the life of infrastructure in their own countries.

“We have no sustainable path forward to manage our infrastructure,” said Franklin Moon, an associate professor of structural engineering at Drexel University, a lead engineer on the project.

“If you want a public infrastructure system, someone has to pay for it. Public infrastructure costs more now than it has to cost,” he said. “We’re spending a lot of money on repairs we might not need to do if we can catch them early.”

Moon said there are 600,000 bridges in the nation and 66,000 in New Jersey. He said he believes agencies are spending more to maintain bridges than they need to because bridge repairs often do not occur until the deterioration has progressed significantly.

He said corrosion expands the rebar in the bridge and when it expands, it pops the concrete, creating a pothole. If the corrosion is detected earlier, it can be treated – with a corrosion inhibitor, for instance – which can prevent it from expanding, he said.

“It’s analogous to finding cancer early so you can deal with it,” he said. “Find cancer late and you’re in trouble … If you let that go to the point that it’s spalling and you’ve got potholes, now you’re out there with a jack hammer and replacing it.”

Moon said the New Jersey Department of Transportation selected the Wayne bridge to study because it is representative of 2,600 other bridges in the state. They all have similar drainage, deck quality and vibration issues, he said.

This bridge, which was built in 1983, handles about 73,100 vehicles a day, said Tim Greeley, spokesman for the state transportation department.

It was last inspected in July 2010, and “is in overall fair condition,” he said.

Greeley said all bridges 20-feet in length or longer are inspected at least every two years.

The teams will meet for a workshop June 14 and 15 to share findings and make recommendations.

SOURCE: http://www.northjersey.com/news/Engineers_use_Route_23_bridge_in_Wayne_to_study_corrosion.html