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USDOT – Distributed fiber optic sensing of pipelines affected by fault crossing and landslide

    The Soga Research Group secured funding from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to create a distributed monitoring system designed for steel pipelines transporting hydrocarbons through geohazard-prone areas. This innovative system has been implemented on a substantial PG&E steel pipeline, responsible for transporting natural gas across regions susceptible to potential faulting (the Calaveras Fault), and land sliding zones in Gilroy, CA. The installation of fiber optic sensors was meticulously executed during the months of May and June in 2023. Our team adhered to specific attachment methods mandated by both the Department of Transportation and PG&E to guarantee the pipeline’s safety and the precision of sensor installation.

    A total of three 400-foot-long strain cables at different locations in the section have been securely affixed to the gas pipeline, including the elbow section. Within the trench, our team has also installed cables capable of monitoring both strain and temperature changes in the soil. Routine readings are conducted consistently to furnish invaluable data and assess the pipeline’s condition.