Residents in Folsom will likely notice the sights and sounds of helicopters hovering above this coming weekend in the skies around Folsom. City officials want to alert residents ahead of time that the activity is nothing to be alarmed about as the activity is that of Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) operations in the area.

According to the City of Folsom as well as officials from PG& E, the utility supplier will be operating helicopters in the city during the daytime hours on both Saturday and to perform routine maintenance on electric transmission lines. The helicopters will operate between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. The helicopters will be using a field at the southwest corner of Carpenter Hill Road and Broadstone Parkway as a landing zone. For more information about the project, call PG&E at 800-743-5000.


Multi day in-line gas inspections to also get underway in coming week

In an unrelated project, PG&E will also begin conducting in line gasline testing in the coming week from El Dorado Hills to Folsom. 


The In-Line Inspections are routinely done throughout PG&E’s natural gas system to support the ongoing safe and reliable delivery of natural gas. PG&E does not expect any disruption to natural gas service for customers while the work is conducted, according to a PG&E media release revised by Folsom Times Tuesday afternoon. 

“PG&E is working to further enhance gas pipeline safety throughout our service area, including communities in Sacramento and El Dorado counties,” said Joe Wilson, Vice President of PG&E’s North Valley & Sierra Region. “This gas pipeline in-line inspection project will result in an even more reliable and resilient natural gas system that will benefit thousands of customers in this region.”


In-Line-Inspection (ILI) technology is PG&E’s preferred method of inspecting its natural gas pipelines. The inspection process, used throughout the gas pipeline industry, uses an innovative tool known as a Pipeline Inspection Gauge (PIG) that travels through the pipeline looking for potential issues that can occur over time, such as dents and corrosion.


This is a preferred inspection method because it does not require any digging and minimizes impacts to traffic. Before the inspection begins, temporary devices will be installed to maintain the flow of gas, which propel the tool through the pipeline. These devices also help reduce gas emissions and the risk of unplanned interruptions to customers’ gas service.

As reported in a previous Folsom Times article last week, PG&E has already staged temporary equipment within a fenced parcel near the southeast intersection of White Rock and Latrobe roads in El Dorado Hills that will be removed after the safety inspection is complete.


This site will be used to operate enclosed combustion devices (ECDs), which consume natural gas to help generate additional gas flow in the pipeline. The devices – a total of five – look like a tall metal barrel 25-35 feet tall and 8 feet wide and will be visible from nearby roads. A glow at the top of the devices may be visible. This is due to the process used to support the inspection tool.  

The devices were tested last week and are expected to operate weekdays from about 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. while PG&E runs cleaning tools through the pipeline. Inspection runs with the robotic tool will start the week of June 3 and lasting as long as until June 7, also between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The PIGs will be inserted into the gas pipeline from a PG&E launcher site at 4606 Riley St. in Folsom and taken out at the site in El Dorado Hills. There are no ECDs at the Folsom site.

Since 2011, PG&E has been rigorously inspecting, replacing, and modernizing pipelines to proactively ensure the safety and reliability of its gas system. Some of the newer technologies applied to the gas system include remote-control and automatic shut-off valves that can stop the flow of gas faster in an emergency, and highly sensitive methane detection sensors that can track microscopic emissions.