Author Topic: San Francisco Bay Area PG&E Gas Transmission Pipeline near a property - WWYD?  (Read 856 times)

jamesbond007

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I am looking at a house to buy which I really like. But there is a PG&E gas transmission pipeline within 600ft of the house. According to PG&E transmission lines can be anywhere from 10"-42" in diameter and may have up to 900psi of pressure. Would you buy this house? Memories of the 2010 San Bruno explosion are still fresh in my mind. Is it risky or am I thinking too much?

seattlecyclone

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It is risky. A gas explosion leveled a few businesses near my house a few years ago. I don't think it was even a transmission line, just a regular service pipe that wasn't capped properly. All properties have some risk though. Buy on a hill and you might have a landslide. Buy near water and you might have a flood. Buy an old house and you might have asbestos or lead or fire-prone wiring or increased risk of earthquake collapse. So many trade-offs.

This particular risk is unlikely to amount to anything but would also be catastrophic if something does happen. How do you weigh the tiny chances against the major consequences? It's not straightforward.

FINate

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How many people does PG&E serve relative to how many have died from PG&E gas main explosions?

A simple Google search says 4.4M PG&E gas accounts. Let's assume ~2 people per gas account. I'm not aware of any other PG&E gas main explosions in recent history other than San Bruno. So that's 8/8,800,000 which comes to about 0.00009% probability of death. If you're worried about those odds then you'd better not drive or bike or walk anywhere :)
« Last Edit: March 17, 2021, 12:54:22 PM by FINate »

jamesbond007

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How many people does PG&E serve relative to how many have died from PG&E gas main explosions?

A simple Google search says 4.4M PG&E gas accounts. Let's assume ~2 people per gas account. I'm not aware of any other PG&E gas main explosions in recent history other than San Bruno. So that's 8/8,800,000 which comes to about 0.00009% probability of death. If you're worried about those odds then you'd better not drive or bike or walk anywhere :)

I like the analytical approach. How would this affect home value? In the current Bay Area market, all logic seems out the door.

RWD

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How many people does PG&E serve relative to how many have died from PG&E gas main explosions?

A simple Google search says 4.4M PG&E gas accounts. Let's assume ~2 people per gas account. I'm not aware of any other PG&E gas main explosions in recent history other than San Bruno. So that's 8/8,800,000 which comes to about 0.00009% probability of death. If you're worried about those odds then you'd better not drive or bike or walk anywhere :)

How many of those 8.8 million people live within blast distance of a transmission pipeline?

jamesbond007

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therethere

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Good on you for doing the due diligence! I would not hesitate to buy solely due to the pipeline. Pipeline regulations have been overhauled 3x over since San Bruno. Pipelines in high density areas are inspected every 5-7 years. PGE actually has a lot more stringent requirements and oversight for their inspections as a result of San Bruno. They're held to a much higher standard. I'd be more confident in them than some smaller utility companies who have smaller budgets. You're more at risk of a gas explosion inside your house from the service lines to your house than you are at risk of a gas explosion on the main pipeline in close proximity to your home.

A lot of people live near big gas lines and don't even know it. Live along a greenspace or a public trail? There's likely a pipeline there. I mean, how else would you get gas to homes if you didn't have major pipelines serving them?
« Last Edit: March 17, 2021, 01:51:08 PM by therethere »

FINate

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How many people does PG&E serve relative to how many have died from PG&E gas main explosions?

A simple Google search says 4.4M PG&E gas accounts. Let's assume ~2 people per gas account. I'm not aware of any other PG&E gas main explosions in recent history other than San Bruno. So that's 8/8,800,000 which comes to about 0.00009% probability of death. If you're worried about those odds then you'd better not drive or bike or walk anywhere :)

How many of those 8.8 million people live within blast distance of a transmission pipeline?

A lot? I don't know of a good data source for this, but as @therethere points out, every area with gas service has transmission lines running through it.

FINate

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How many people does PG&E serve relative to how many have died from PG&E gas main explosions?

A simple Google search says 4.4M PG&E gas accounts. Let's assume ~2 people per gas account. I'm not aware of any other PG&E gas main explosions in recent history other than San Bruno. So that's 8/8,800,000 which comes to about 0.00009% probability of death. If you're worried about those odds then you'd better not drive or bike or walk anywhere :)

I like the analytical approach. How would this affect home value? In the current Bay Area market, all logic seems out the door.

IMO little, if at all.  Nothing illogical about it, just what happens in a housing shortage. Maybe the house gets 9 offers instead of 10?

cchrissyy

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On first impression no it doesn't strike me as risky, it strikes me as one of those unseen things under every city that makes it function and probably thousands of houses are within that range and never give it any thought.

You inspired me to look up a map in my own town, and actually it was less covered by large gas pipelines than i would have guessed.  But all that means in smaller lines serve the rest. Everyone here has gas.

https://www.pge.com/en_US/safety/how-the-system-works/natural-gas-system-overview/gas-transmission-pipeline/gas-transmission-pipelines.page

jamesbond007

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I just realized that there is a transmission line right under my condo and I didn't even know it :) I guess I am over analyzing this situation.

use2betrix

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Will the pipeline be actually on your property or just near it?

I spent the last couple years working on a 150 mile pipeline project and am pretty familiar with the whole process.. If you’re a landowner there’s a lot of good negotiation options and ways you can ensure a smooth installation and better protections on your land.

jamesbond007

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Will the pipeline be actually on your property or just near it?

I spent the last couple years working on a 150 mile pipeline project and am pretty familiar with the whole process.. If you’re a landowner there’s a lot of good negotiation options and ways you can ensure a smooth installation and better protections on your land.

600ft away.

Michael in ABQ

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I am looking at a house to buy which I really like. But there is a PG&E gas transmission pipeline within 600ft of the house. According to PG&E transmission lines can be anywhere from 10"-42" in diameter and may have up to 900psi of pressure. Would you buy this house? Memories of the 2010 San Bruno explosion are still fresh in my mind. Is it risky or am I thinking too much?

Zero risk. At 600 feet away the worst case scenario would be some broken windows in the one in a million chance it blew up at the point closest to your house.

trollwithamustache

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I am looking at a house to buy which I really like. But there is a PG&E gas transmission pipeline within 600ft of the house. According to PG&E transmission lines can be anywhere from 10"-42" in diameter and may have up to 900psi of pressure. Would you buy this house? Memories of the 2010 San Bruno explosion are still fresh in my mind. Is it risky or am I thinking too much?

Zero risk. At 600 feet away the worst case scenario would be some broken windows in the one in a million chance it blew up at the point closest to your house.

This. Pipeline explosions are super rare, and relatively concentrated events. 

FWIW, every one I know something about professionally, they were doing construction and it was very much the construction crews fault. Like stop hitting the line with your giant auger machine fault. 

Dicey

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To quote the late, great Roseanne Roseannadanna, "It's always something." Your house could also get hit by a meteor. As a PG&E customer and homeowner, I'd worry more about the possibility of fire, and not the all caps kind.