The owner of the company that in the Crestmoor neighborhood today apologized to city leaders and agreed to fully cooperate with the city while the accident is being reviewed.
The city said in a statement that the project being worked on by Shaw Pipeline Co., which was installing a water line as part of the city's ongoing reconstruction work taking place in the neighborhood, has been stopped until at least Monday.
Matt Shaw, owner of Shaw Pipeline Co., based in San Francisco, said he was "deeply sorry" for his company's error.
“I offer my sincerest apologies to the citizens of San Bruno on behalf of myself, my crew and my company,” Shaw said in a statement. “We understand how sensitive this community still is from the PG&E explosion of September 2010 and we are deeply sorry to have caused additional and unnecessary concern.”
City Manager Connie Jackson said authories are looking into the gas leak and planning to implement additional safety protocols so that residents don't have any more unnecessary scares.
New safety measures will include a daily review by the contractor on how they will layout and execute their work where they are excavating. They must re-verify all utility locations before starting work each day. In the event there are any questions about utility locations in the field, they cannot do work until re-checking with utility authorities to verify the exact locations of underground lines, Jackson said. PG&E has also agreed to re-mark utility locations.
“We are relieved that no one was injured, but this incident caused significant distress and alarm throughout our city and community,” Jackson said. “We believe Mr. Shaw and his company more fully understand the importance of safety for our community and his own crew.”
Shaw pledged to personally join his crew each morning before the start of work until the project is completed in October.
Workers operating a backhoe struck a 2-inch plastic gas distribution pipeline near Glenview Drive and Earl Avenue, the same location where the , at about 10:45 a.m.
PG&E crews quickly responded and capped the gas leak by 11:25 a.m., a PG&E spokesman said. Residents in 14 homes in the immediate area were briefly evacuated while the leak was capped.
The leak didn't cause a fire.
While a PG&E spokesman initially said that Shaw workers didn't contact the safe digging number that contractors are supposed to call when performing excavation—a standard procedure when dealing with underground pipelines—Jackson said the company did follow through with the pipeline safety procedures before starting the project.
However, Jackson said, the markings that PG&E made on the ground to identify that a pipeline was underground—also a standard procedure—were obscured by all of the construction that has been taking place in the neighborhood, and the contractor didn't carefully observe them.
"It doesn't excuse the fact that they were inattentive to the location of the pipeline," she said.
Shaw Pipeline was hired by the city in April at a cost of about $1.7 million to replace and repair water and sewer lines destroyed in the Sept. 2010 PG&E explosion. PG&E is paying for the project through the to help with costs for rebuilding the infrastructure in the neighborhood.