History from PPNA resident John Bouey, written in an email to PPNA July, 2015. Posted with permissionO

 


Back in the day, when Marj Saunders and a few of the neighbors (lead by Carol Brownell 9100 Skyline) along Skyline fought to stop reactivation of the Shell Oil Jet Fuel Line that runs through Piedmont Pines (from Pinecrest coming up from the small town of Canyon, then along Skyline to Castle, then down the canyon parallel to Castle) which had gone inactive after the landslide near the Mormon Temple.  This pipeline was installed in about 1965 and the neighbors were lead to believe that it was a water line, but in all actuality it carried 1.4 million gallons per day of jet fuel at a pressure of 1,440 pounds per square inch.  Back in the 1970s the city made over $300,000 annually on the franchise fees from Shell Oil.

During the fight to stop reactivation, PPNA did a great job showing how a disaster would occur if the pipeline were to rupture in the event of an earthquake or by excavation (the pipeline was damaged by a city public works crew clearing a culvert with an excavator in 1982). The EIR was totally inadequate stating the the new pipeline would have automatic shut off valves at critical points along the pipeline route that would stop the flow of jet fuel in a matter of seconds if there was a leak (loss of pressure) or rupture (earthquake).  The only problem with this design is water hammer (the "bang" that happens when you quickly shut off the water in your home).  If water flowing in a pipeline is stopped  quickly the increase in pressure can be as much as 400 percent.  This amount of increase in pressure would most definitely exceed the pipeline's safety factor and a catastrophic rupture would occur (I witnessed a 6 inch pipeline come right out of the pavement along Alcosta Blvd. in Contra Costa County when I was a construction manager for the Canyon Lakes Project).

The good news is that today the pipeline is completely abandoned from the refinery in Martinez to the Oakland Airport.  When Shell Oil was unable to renew the franchise with the city in 1985 they decommissioned the pipeline and filled it with nitrogen gas to prevent any internal corrosion from taking place. Even better news is that I learned about two weeks ago when PG&E replaces our 3/4 inch gas line the Shell Oil underground alert inspector told me that they no longer have any designs for bringing the pipeline back and no longer even bother to maintain the nitrogen gas inhibitor in the pipeline.

That is the history of the Shell Oil Pipeline.  I don't think it will ever be coming back in our lifetime.  Maybe they could convert it to a recycled water line since the refinery has ties to the wastewater treatment plant in Pacheco.  Wouldn't it be great to be able to water our lawn and shrubs with nutrient rich liquid?