Trees, brush and structures can threaten public safety by blocking access to the gas transmission pipeline during an emergency. These items may also prevent crews from performing important safety and maintenance work on the pipeline. Tree roots also pose a safety risk because they can cause potential damage to the pipeline, including leaks and damage to the protective coating of the pipeline.
As one part of our commitment to public safety, PG&E performs gas pipeline vegetation management work, such as removing trees and structures located too close to the gas pipeline. We conduct this work across Northern and Central California to help ensure that our customers and communities have access to safe and reliable gas service.
Through PG&E’s Community Pipeline Safety Initiative, we are working with our customers and communities to check the area above the pipeline for any items, including structures and trees, that could delay safety crews from getting to the pipe in an emergency and making it safe. As part of this work, we are committed to working with our communities and customers to replace any items identified as a safety risk that need to be removed. This includes planting new trees and other landscaping to maintain the beauty of our communities. This work is part of our commitment to safety, which is not just about today, but also about our future.
Identified existing safety concerns through a centerline survey of 6,750 miles of PG&E’s gas transmission pipeline
Addressed more than 99% of safety concerns identified in communities
Partnered with our customers to develop shared solutions for potential safety risks in their neighborhoods
Minimized impact of safety work on customers by planting new trees at a safe distance from the pipeline and making sure areas were restored to preserve the natural beauty of communities
DOWNLOAD THE COMMUNITY PIPELINE SAFETY INITIATIVE BROCHURE (PDF, 4.25 MB) >
DOWNLOAD THE COMMUNITY PIPELINE SAFETY INITIATIVE FACT SHEET (PDF, 518 KB) >
DOWNLOAD THE COMMUNITY PIPELINE SAFETY INITIATIVE FAQ (PDF, 44 KB) >
As part of PG&E’s commitment to safety, our Gas Transmission Vegetation Management program focuses on keeping the area above and around the gas transmission pipeline clear of items that can block access for safety crews in an emergency or for critical maintenance work.
PG&E crews regularly walk the pipeline and look for any new structures, trees or brush that could block access and confirm trees previously left in place have not developed into a safety concern. Based on our patrols and inspections, we may need to remove trees, brush and/or resprouted vegetation that are located too close to the pipe and pose a safety concern.
For all trees left in place as part of the Community Pipeline Safety Initiative, our patrollers review and confirm that they have not developed into a safety concern. This includes reviewing conditions such as changes in the tree’s health or the stability of soils in the area.
For newly planted trees we identify during our regular inspections, we assess the tree based on our vegetation standards and Guide to Safe Landscaping, which recommend keeping the area above the pipeline free of incompatible vegetation that could block critical access or damage the pipe. These guidelines are based on best practices from the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
We also look for new structures that are located too close to the pipeline and could block emergency access to the pipe.
If any safety issues are found during an inspection, PG&E will work directly with the property owner to share information about the work and develop a path forward.
Have a question about our gas transmission vegetation management programs? Click on a question below to learn more. You can also call us at 1-877-259-8314 for any additional questions you may have.
PG&E’s 6,750-mile natural gas transmission pipeline system runs throughout the state of California. We are working with every community where our transmission pipeline runs to help ensure that the area above and around the natural gas transmission pipeline is safely accessible in the event of an emergency.
Most private properties do not have an underground transmission pipeline on them. You can find out if there is a natural gas transmission pipeline in your area by calling PG&E at 1-877-259-8314, or searching our online Gas Transmission Pipeline Map at pge.com/pipelinelocations. Property owners can also check by reviewing a copy of your title report and looking for references to “PG&E,” “utilities,” “easements,” “rights-of-way,” “land use restrictions” or other similar language. You can also look for upright yellow pipeline markers or flat medallions on the ground or sidewalk near your property.
We understand how important trees are to your community and the environment. To determine which trees needed to be removed for safety reasons, PG&E’s Community Pipeline Safety Initiative conducted a tree-by-tree review. The review was conducted by pipeline safety experts and certified arborists, involved an in-depth analysis of every tree located within 14 feet of the gas transmission pipeline and determined if the tree could remain in place with regular monitoring or if it needed to be replaced away from the pipe. The review took into consideration many important factors, such as the tree species, its expected size at full growth, its distance from the pipe and the ability of first responders to safely access the pipe in an emergency. For more information about the tree-by-tree review, please see our Community Pipeline Safety Initiative Brochure (PDF, 4.25 MB).
To help keep the pipeline safe and clear, we continue to monitor the area above and around the pipe as part of our Gas Transmission Vegetation Management program. These inspections include looking for any new structures, trees or brush that could impede access and to confirm no trees previously left in place have developed into a safety concern. The program will conduct inspections according to industry best practices and our vegetation standard, which incorporates elements of the tree-by-tree review process described above.
As part of the Community Pipeline Safety Initiative, when a structure or tree poses a safety concern, PG&E will pay to replace or relocate the item. The cost will be paid for by our shareholders, not our customers. In the future, all property owners will be responsible for keeping the area above the pipeline safe and clear.
Yes. Trees matter to us and we know they matter to the customers and communities we proudly serve. That’s why we are offering replacement trees at our expense as part of the Community Pipeline Safety Initiative. In addition, we will work together with the property owner to identify the best options for restoring the area, including a variety of landscaping options that are safe for the area around the pipeline, all at PG&E’s expense.
Customers can play an important role in helping PG&E keep the gas system and surrounding community safe by taking care to choose the right plant for the right location on their property. Many types of low-lying plants and shrubs work well in the area above the pipeline because they provide critical access to the pipeline in the event of an emergency. These plants may include flower beds, an assortment of lawns, grasses, mosses, low-growing herbaceous shrubs, vegetable gardens, row crops and other plants. Trees, large shrubs, and plants with a woody stem, such as manzanita and juniper bushes, should be planted at least 10 feet away from the gas pipeline, and 14 feet for larger trees. Please note, these are just examples. More information can be found in our Guide to Safe Landscaping at pge.com/safelandscaping (PDF, 740 KB). Customers are encouraged to contact PG&E at 1-877-259-8314 for more information.
As part of our commitment to safety, PG&E conducted the Community Pipeline Safety Initiative, which removed items like structures and trees to help ensure safety crews can quickly access the pipeline in an emergency or for critical maintenance work.
To help keep the pipeline safe and clear, we continue to monitor the area above and around the pipe as part of our regular inspections and maintenance program. Our inspections include looking for any new structures, trees or brush that could impede access, and to confirm no trees previously left in place have developed into a safety concern.
Rerouting a pipeline is a major undertaking that is very disruptive to the community and environment. The process can take several years to complete and requires extensive coordination with other utilities (i.e., water, sewer, storm drains) to find safe and feasible locations. By working together to address items that are too close to the pipeline, we can help ensure the pipe continues to provide safe and reliable gas service for years to come.
PG&E regularly monitors and patrols the area above and around the gas pipeline through our Gas Transmission Vegetation Management Program. Our inspections include looking for any new structures, trees or brush that could impede access, and to confirm that no trees previously left in place have developed into a safety concern. Other departments within PG&E may also patrol areas for other necessary maintenance work including overhead electrical pruning.
Typically, mitigation, including tree replacement and restoration offered as part of the Community Pipeline Safety Initiative, is not available for our ongoing vegetation maintenance work. We implemented the Community Pipeline Safety Initiative as part of important changes to improve the safety and reliability of our gas system and moving forward we have a shared responsibility to keep the area safe and clear. However, we will review restoration and mitigation requests on an individual basis and are committed to working with each property owner to develop a path forward for this safety work.