SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Gas line breaks are up 58 percent this month. From major construction zones to small neighborhood projects, gas line breaks are happening all too frequently.
“It’s not rocket science to be safe in dealing with gas lines,” said property owner Craig Powell. “We’ve been dealing with those for over 150 years.”
Powell owns an apartment building that was evacuated over a break he said was caused by a city contractor near Land Park.
“Had busted into a 6-inch gas main. This was not just an inch or half-inch gas line,” Powell said.
A major line was struck Monday on Freeport and 5th, causing evacuations. Another half-inch line was struck earlier in front of a Sacramento home.
This month, 19 incidents happened in the city. In August of 2015, there had been 12.
“Just look around Sacramento, lots of new development and construction projects going around,” said Linsey Paulo, a PG&E spokesperson.
In 2015, from January through July, PG&E said there were 124 ruptures caused by digging. So far this year, the city responded to 164. It’s not just the cost to repair, but it could be deadly.
“Although natural gas is lighter than air and does rise and dissipate fairly quickly, there could be some spots where it could get into homes and businesses. We don’t want people breathing it, but on top of that is the fire and explosion danger,” said Sacramento Fire spokesman Chris Harvey.
Natural gas leaks not even caused by digging can also be deadly. In 2010, a massive gas line rupture killed 8 people. Smaller fires from breaks have also been spotted around Sacramento.
The average cost of fines and repairs is about $5,000. Powell said that’s not enough.
“Hopefully PG&E will lower the hammer on the city to make sure that they’re acting responsibly in the future,” Powell said.
Officials urge diggers to call 811 before digging even if they’re just replanting a large tree. It could save you from rupturing a gas line and it’s the law.