California May Be Riddled With Poorly Mapped Underground Fuel Pipelines

Since 1998, fuel pipeline owners in California were required by law to give local officials detailed maps of their underground pipe network. Problem is, many companies submitted inaccurate maps early on and haven’t updated them.

This major oversight was uncovered after the San Bruno gas fire in 2010. To prevent another disaster, fire departments, construction crews and others called the California State Fire Marshal’s Office to find out the location of underground fuel pipes. Astonishingly, the office discovered that most maps on file were old, contact lists were outdated and much of the new information had not been updated properly.

Not knowing the location of an underground fuel pipe puts a construction crew at risk when it begins digging and leaves firefighters helpless when they are forced to fight a blaze caused by a pipe leak. To fix this problem, California may setup a website that would let pipeline owners enter new, accurate pipe information and let emergency personnel access this information when necessary. [The Oakland Tribune]

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