A California Public Utilities Commission staff report released today (Sept. 5) said that allegations of faulty welding during 2011 hydrostatic pipeline pressure tests were “determined to be unfounded.”
According to a news release issued by the CPUC: “Based on its investigation, CPUC staff did not find any instances in which welds were not inspected in compliance with federal and state gas pipeline safety regulations. Further, CPUC staff found that PG&E is evaluating defects when they are found, and that any significant defects are cut out of the line.”
PG&E issued the following statement from Nick Stavropoulos, executive vice president of gas operations:
“All of us at PG&E—especially the thousands of men and women who build and maintain our infrastructure—are serious about meeting or exceeding standards for quality work. The CPUC today has validated our commitment to quality.
“The Commission’s conclusions match the findings of our own internal review. Both show that the X-rays of the welds done as part of our pipeline hydrotest work achieve industry and PG&E standards. Exhaustive quality control and third-party certification are integral to our hydrotesting program. By doing our work the right way, we will earn and keep the trust of our customers and regulators.
“Hydrostatic tests give tangible, relevant and credible evidence that we are operating our gas system safely. Each test is no small feat, involving painstaking coordination of people, time, resources and communication. PG&E has conducted an unprecedented amount of hydrotesting in the past two years—163 miles of tests in 2011 and more than 97 miles in the first eight months of 2012—in communities all over Northern and Central California.
“We stand behind the results of our testing, and we remain committed to the highest-quality work as we improve our natural gas system.”