SDG&E inspecting lines to prevent possible explosion - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

SDG&E inspecting lines to prevent possible explosion

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - It's an unwelcome letter for thousands of SDG&E customers. The public utility company has launched a new program to inspect pipelines for homes, schools and businesses across the county because of potential gas leaks.

Michelle Skinner is one of dozens of residents in her Mira Mesa neighborhood on edge after reading the letter from SDG&E.

"If anyone's homes are on top of something that could potentially be something dangerous, it could be like a domino effect through our whole neighborhood," she said.

The letter outlines a new pipeline inspection program where SDG&E crews will be checking some 50,000 properties throughout the county, including schools and hospitals to check whether sewer lines have been cut by potentially dangerous gas lines, which ere installed during the 80s and 90s.

"Sometimes this plastic natural gas line could go through a sewer line because the sewer line may be made of plastic, or it could be made of very porous clay,"

The public utility says intersecting lines are not hazardous if they're left alone, but if they're penetrated by someone digging, drilling or snaking a clogged line, the results could be tragic.

Officials say the $10 million project is the company's proactive way of avoiding a large-scale gas leak and fiery explosion like we saw in San Bruno last year that killed four people and damaged 38 homes.

Most of the properties in are located in San Diego proper, but officials have also identified sites stretching from Rainbow down to San Ysidro.

The inspection itself will take about an hour. Crews will lower a thin cable attached to a camera into the sewer pipe and look for any obstructions. While analysis has already started in high-density areas, residents like Michelle Skinner say she'll be discussing the issue with her neighbors to make sure everyone stays safe.

"It's better safe than sorry and just to let everybody know and educate everybody on a proper way to take care of things in their house," she said.

We should point out SDG&E stresses intersecting lines are a rare occurence.

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