Pleasanton Weekly

Column - October 1, 2010

Pipelines and Pioneer

by Jeb Bing

Jim Miguel, the newly hired chief of the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department, and his deputy chief Joe Rodondi were fast on their feet to calm the two communities following the devastating natural gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno last month that has now taken the lives of nine people. Miguel and Rodondi appeared before the Pleasanton Planning Commission and most recently the City Council, as they've also done in Livermore, to talk about how they are working with PG&E and state public utility inspectors to ensure that buried gas pipelines that pass through part of Livermore and skirt Pleasanton's southeastern border along Vallecitos Road and Highway 84 pose no threat to the area. That's not to say these pipelines are without worry. PG&E has reported that parts of it are on its "at risk" list, although "risk" may have been too strong a word for a pipeline that is aging and is on PG&E's schedule for physical inspection and possible replacement.

Miguel said he and Rodondi are meeting with PG&E on a regular basis, have joined in the above-ground inspections, are reading and being updated by PG&E's aerial surveillance teams, and have specific route information on where the pipeline is and nearby homes and businesses. A big relief Miguel points out is that the section of the gas pipeline that travels directly through and under parts of Ruby Hill has been abandoned -- although it's still there -- and replaced at the time Ruby Hill was developed with a newer section (that's not on the at-risk list) that follows the Highway 84 route.

I also saw Tom Guarino, head of PG&E's government relations team, at a ceremony opening the new I-680 toll lane. Back from several days of 24/7 onsite duty in San Bruno, Guarino said the Livermore pipeline extends into Sunol and then south to Fremont. It's on PG&E's "Top 100" list of gas pipelines that are part of the utility's ongoing risk management program that is used to prioritize engineering analyses and future work on transmission pipelines. In many cases, that consists solely of monitoring, whereas in others it means repair or replacement. But it's a list of projects PG&E has identified as priority candidates for replacement or upgrade for reasons of public safety. Any issue identified as a threat to public safety is always addressed right away, Guarino said, adding that PG&E doesn't delay or defer work that is necessary for public safety.

As forthright as PG&E has been since San Bruno, it should be noted, however, that the pipeline that exploded there was not on the "Top 100" list of locations that PG&E has since released. Miguel also pointed out that the National Transportation Safety Board investigation of the San Bruno explosion is not complete. It's still unknown why the pipeline there ruptured, exploded and caught fire. Clearly, he said, PG&E and its team of investigators need to know what happened in San Bruno before they can say with confidence that a similar tragedy is highly unlikely in Pleasanton or Livermore.

Still, Miguel and Rodondi's immediate response to check on pipeline safety in the communities they serve makes it comforting to know that they are on top of potential dangers with the data and other tools they would need if a pipeline failed here. They also will report back to both cities and the public as more information becomes available.

Pioneer Cemetery a disappointment

Gravesites go on sale today at Pleasanton's newly expanded Pioneer Cemetery but buyers beware. The cost for double-burial gravesites at $10,198 for full burial and $4,277 for plots holding the cremains of two individuals seems steep given the condition of the cemetery, which the city plans to leave as is. No grass, no sprinkling system. Add to that a regulation stipulating that the sites can't be re-sold once purchased could leave the cemetery with a number of unused plots if owners move away from Pleasanton. These prices and policies need to be revisited.


Posted by Gary Schwaegerle, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 23, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Gary Schwaegerle is a registered user.

For those interested in Supporting or keeping up with the Pleasanton Pioneer Cemetery. Join the Newly Formed Group on Facebook. Web Link Description: "This Group was Created in Support of Pleasanton Pioneer Cemetery - Preserving Heritage & History in Pleasanton, CA. The Cemetery was adopted by the Rotary Club of Pleasanton as 1 of its many Community Service Projects. Also supported by many other Orgainizations: ALVHS, VFW, DAR, BSA and many Individuals. With a Special Thanks to the original Pioneers moving the City of Pleasanton to adopt the Cemetery: The original 7 members: Howard Neely 1st chairman, Chris Beratlis 2nd chairman, Frank Capilla, Joe Cook, Bill Hirst, John Innis, Jim Wright Additional members: Pete Bailey, Jack Bras, Harold Ceizler, Vic Lund, and Gary Schwaegerle. The untold story: The Original 7 secured the Cemetery in Contract, ponied up $50,000. as well as the legal work to establish a 501c3 non-profit in order to preserve this asset a jewel in The Community of Pleasanton. "

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: *

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields