PG&E Patrolling Gas Transmission Lines in North Bay By Air Starting Monday, April 26, 2021
April is National Safe Digging Month
SAN RAFAEL, Calif.—Just in time for National Safe Digging Month, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will begin conducting aerial patrols of gas transmission pipelines throughout the North Bay starting on Monday, April 26. Residents may notice a helicopter flying as low as 300 to 500 feet, or fixed-wing aircraft, following gas transmission lines in Vallejo, Marin, Napa and Sonoma Counties. PG&E conducts monthly aerial patrols of all its gas transmission pipelines in the interest of public safety and system integrity.
A pilot and two observers in up to three different small airplanes will fly about 7,000 – 9,000 feet above gas transmission lines Monday through Friday. Flights will fly to and from Concord’s Buchanan Airfield, with possible stops at Novato’s Gnoss Field, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Using GPS and live video, a pilot and two observers navigate the pipelines and document excavation and construction activity, or other observations that obstruct rights-of-way.
Where appropriate, PG&E ground personnel are sent to construction areas to verify that safe digging practices are being followed. This includes confirming the use of a valid 811 ticket for proper marking of underground utility lines that help prevent the gas line from being hit.
Also starting Monday, a low-flying Lasen helicopter will inspect transmission lines in Vallejo and Marin, Napa, and Sonoma Counties through the end of the month. They will fly to and from San Rafael’s Hayward Executive Airport to Sonoma County’s Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport. These flights are Monday through Sunday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
These semi-annual surveys combine the use of LIDAR-based equipment and state-of-the-art leak detection technology to find gas indications, if gas is detected. PG&E personnel are sent to the field to follow-up. Each patrol consists of a pilot and an observer. The observer in the helicopter also uses a GPS-enabled tablet with mapping data help identify safety concerns that would prohibit access to the pipeline.
April is National Safe Digging Month and PG&E would like to remind its customers to call 811 or visit www.usanorth811.org before starting outdoor projects where dirt is moved. 811 signals utilities to come to the location to mark all underground lines for free. Contractors with projects of all sizes are required by California Government Code 4216 to call 811, including contractors hired by a homeowner. This prevents strikes on underground lines. Strikes to underground lines is a public safety risk, causing damage and possibly injury.
PG&E, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is a combined natural gas and electric utility serving more than 16 million people across 70,000 square miles in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit pge.com and pge.com/news.