Annual Natural Gas Pipeline Assessment

There are two main PG&E gas lines serving the campus – one that zig zags through southwest campus and one that runs through the center. Off these main lines are a network of smaller lines that power emergency generators, gas-fired boilers, radiant heaters, and lab equipment scattered throughout campus facilities. Through the beginning of next week, Utilities’ Water & Gas crew will be “walking the line” – all 27 miles – holding flame-ionization equipment close to the ground to “sniff” for any leaking gas. If they find any leaks (typically requiring routine maintenance), they get them fixed asap. We normally test 10 percent of our gas services annually, but this year the entire system gets a once-over and a thorough condition assessment to also see how the system could be expanded to serve the campus’s future needs. 

Pipeline Overviews

The Central Line

Starts at the east end of Hutchison and runs west past Surge III before turning south and ending at the Central Heating & Cooling Plant. The CH&CP is the campus’s largest user of natural gas, which powers boilers generating the steam and hot water that’s distributed through campus to provide buildings things like heat and sterilization services.

The South Line 

Runs under the train tracks, entering campus just south of the Manetti Shrem Gallery before meandering northwest, eventually heading west down La Rue. It turns south on Garrod to serve Unitrans’ Compressed Natural Gas facility and keep our red buses fueled and running throughout Davis. 

Traffic Impacts

Along the southern line, PG&E’s contractors will be working today, Nov. 8, and Nov. 9. They will be stopping at least every 10 feet to drill small holes, insert a probe that tests for any corrosion in the line, patch the hole, and move along another 5-10 feet. They may need to stop in the middle of Old Davis Road, La Rue (at several points) and Dairy Road. Each cycle only takes minutes and the crew brings with it a full traffic control complement for safety. Utilities’ Water & Gas crew notes we’ve never had a gas leak on campus from the PG&E lines.

Questions & Contacts

If you ever smell natural gas on campus, please call the Facilities Management Customer Support Center at (530) 752-1655. Any technical questions about the work being performed can be directed to Joel McCoy, Utilities’ superintendent of Water & Gas, at (530) 219-1304 or