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Letter: Ways to avert San Bruno disaster

Dear Editor,

Last week's San Bruno fire has left an indelible impression on the nation's mind. Gas leaks cause non-controllable fires. Ground movement due to growth of tree roots, earthquakes or floods cause cracks in the underground gas pipes that start leaking. To avert such disasters, some suggestions are presented:

1. Use coiled accordion type flex pipe sections at all bends and joints of gas supply lines;

2. Closely monitor sudden changes in gas pressure in the supply lines;

3. Use lower gas pressure in old supply lines until replaced with new ones;

4. At the point of branch lines to housing and building developments, install shut off valves that may be remotely controlled from an operating room, and also respond to heat/smoke sensitivity;

5. Install easy manual shut off valve for each home and building about twenty feet away from the building; and,

6. Relocated water heaters and gas furnaces twenty feet away from the houses and buildings they serve, the current practice of locating them in the adjoining garage is not safe.

Funding for this nationwide project may be provided under the Recovery Act presently in force.

T.S. Khanna

Foundation for Better Government

Alamo

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Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of another community
on Sep 22, 2010 at 1:02 pm

No offense, T.S., but you make it sound like we know what caused the San Bruno explosion and fire already - we don't. And your proposals are for the most part, preposterous...

1. Use coiled accordion type flex pipe sections at all bends and joints of gas supply lines
- Are you an engineer? Do they make 30" high pressure flex pipe? It's not a dryer vent, it's a high pressure gas line.

2. Closely monitor sudden changes in gas pressure in the supply lines - They already do this.

3. Use lower gas pressure in old supply lines until replaced with new ones
- People would complain about not having adequate pressure to their homes. Do you want people freezing to death with no heat? Didn't think so.

4. At the point of branch lines to housing and building developments, install shut off valves that may be remotely controlled from an operating room
- Your one and only useful suggestion. Useful, but not original. Everyone has been talking about this starting from the day of the fire.

5. Install easy manual shut off valve for each home and building about twenty feet away from the building
- Many homes in California aren't 20 feet apart. What about condos and townhomes? And the row-houses in San Francisco? And then even if they did this, isn't this an opportunity for local kids to always be turning people's gas off?

6. Relocated water heaters and gas furnaces twenty feet away from the houses and buildings they serve
- Come on, is this practical for the many hundreds of thousands of houses in the Bay Area alone? Get real T.K.


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