PaintSquare.com


The First Word in Protective & Marine Coatings

A Product of Technology Publishing / PaintSquare
JPCL | PaintSquare News | Durability + Design | Paint BidTracker

Chemical & Petrochemical Plant Coating Systems

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page


A Fight to Root Out Pipeline Corrosion

Friday, May 2, 2014

More items for Program/Project Management

Comment | More

A California utility is locked in a showdown with private and public property owners over its plan to remove hundreds of trees that are damaging and corroding area pipelines.

San Francisco-based Pacific Gas & Electric, one of the largest natural-gas and electric utlities in the United States, says that trees, sheds, garages and other structures on both public and private property need to be removed

Pipeline and Information Planning Alliance
Pipeline and Information Planning Alliance

Tree roots are damaging pipeline protective coatings and could rip pipes out of the ground, PG&E says.

The trees are causing significant problems throughout the company's 6,750-mile-long pipeline system, PG&E has been telling residents and county officials statewide

Tree roots can rip the protective wrap from a pipeline and destroy its first level of external corrosion protection, PG&E says.

Wrong Assumptions

Kirk Johnson, PG&E vice president of Gas Transmission Maintenance and Construction, outlined the tree removal plan at an April 22 meeting of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

Decades ago, Johnson said, PG&E assumed that pipelines buried at least three feet deep wouldn't be bothered by tree roots. But now, he said, those roots are potentially putting systems at risk.

Not only can tree roots destroy a pipeline's protective coatings, but they can wrap themselves around the pipe.

PG&E
PG&E

Natural plantings and manmade structures can interfere with pipeline maintenance, inspection and operation, PG&E has said.

If the tree falls, say in an earthquake or wind storm, it can pull a small pipe entirely out of the ground, or put unusual stresses on larger pipes that lead to failure, Johnson said.

'Too Customer-Focused'

In the past, PG&E didn't stop residents from planting trees or building structures over pipelines; and once one person did it, many others followed suit.

Now, the company says, these structures are preventing crews from performing checks and maintenance.

"We became a little too customer-focused," Johnson said.

The utlity plans to remedy the situation with Pipeline Pathways, a five-year, $5 million, shareholder-funded program.

"This would eliminate—not mitigate, eliminate—the risk of external corrosion and wrap damage to our pipeline system from tree roots," Johnson said.

Pipeline Pathways program
PG&E

PG&E says it became "too customer-focused" by allowing people to plant trees and build structures over pipelines for decades. Now, the utility wants them removed for pipeline safety.

"We're not going to get here in the next five years. It's going to take a long time to get through all of the specific issues that cities and counties have," Johnson said.

Cities Want Negotiations

However, the plan is currently on hold while PG&E negotiates with multiple cities.

The Contra Costa Board praised Johnson for his focus on pipeline safety, but determined it needed more details before letting the utility move forward with its plan.

The company has marked hundreds of trees for removal throughout the Bay Area, NBCBayArea.com reported.

The mayor of Walnut Creek, CA, Kristina Lawson, told the news channel that 700 trees have been tagged in her area, and the city will sue to stop it if necessary.

PG&E says it won't remove any county trees or any "protected" or "ordinance" trees on private property without a written agreement in place.

The company is also working to meet with private property owners to remove "encroachments" (i.e., sheds, barns, garages and trees) and hopes to have an inventory for the counties sometime this summer.

   

Tagged categories: Corrosion; Health and safety; Inspection; Maintenance programs; Oil and Gas; Pipelines; Utilities

Comment from Mark Anater, (5/2/2014, 11:43 AM)

Here is a classic example of public vs. private interests clashing, and the response is instructive. No one will tolerate having their water service interrupted, but removing trees that represent a clear and present danger of doing just that draws an immediate, negative response. What's the utility to do about a homeowner who complains bitterly when his neighbor's tree takes out the water main, but who will meet a removal crew with a shotgun if they try to take down one of his trees?


Comment from Jim Johnson, (5/2/2014, 12:13 PM)

At least PG&E is being honest in admitting their past mistakes, is offering a realistic solution and is willing to pay for it themselves. The problem is that the solution to any problem breeds another problem.


Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Minerals Research & Recovery
PREMIUM SLAG ABRASIVES

Visit mrrinc.com. In surface preparation tests run for NIOSH by an independent company, Sharpshot® was shown to be the best slag abrasive for cutting speed and cost per sq. ft.
Call Steve: 520-297-4626


SAFE Systems, Inc.
Portable Blast &
Recovery Equipment

Trailer or skid mounted blast and recovery equipment. Systems designed for maximum versatility, environmental compliance
and overall cost savings.
Call 1-800-634-7278


Novatek Corporation
Dustless Coatings Removal

Strip it, clean it, and profile it,
all dust free! High production
rates and Blast like finishes.
Comply with new lead
standards.


Blastox/The TDJ Group, Inc.
Blastox - One Step
Lead Abatement

Don't waste $$ on added labor steps with other methods. Don't mix, meter or apply at the job-site. Avoid strict hazardous waste rules.
Let your painters paint!


LS Industries
LS Blasters: Optimum Steel Cleaning Efficiency

Simplify surface prep with the precise shot control of LS Blasters. Our blast technology delivers optimum coverage and finish. 800-533-8008


Safety Lamp of Houston, Inc.
Wet & hazardous area lighting solutions from SAFETY LAMP of Houston

New WOLF LED and fluorescent lights are now available, including low voltage tank lighting kits.
Call: (281) 964-1019.


Keizer Technologies, Inc.
Fast • Safe • Clean • Silent

The innovative RPR Induction Disbonder, the world’s fastest, safest, cleanest and very cost effective method for removing paint and coatings from steel surfaces.

 
 
 
Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design Paint BidTracker JPCL Europe

 
EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About PaintSquare.com   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us
 

© Copyright 2000-2014, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail webmaster@paintsquare.com