ALAMO -- Property owners who have built fences, bridges and other structures along the Iron Horse Trail have county officials worried about a high-pressure jet fuel petroleum pipeline that runs under the trail corridor.
"We realized that we had a number of encroachments," said Carrie Ricci, Contra Costa's manager for the Iron Horse Corridor. "It's a safety concern for the county." Representatives from the Contra Costa County Public Works Department and Kinder Morgan will discuss the problem and potential safety issues at 6 p.m. Tuesday during an Alamo Municipal Advisory Committee meeting.
The trail corridor is owned by the county and is known for its popular paved trail that runs from Concord to Pleasanton. It is also a route used by a number of utilities for fiber optic cables, sewer and waterlines, as well as for a Kinder Morgan high-pressure pipeline that carries gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from Concord to the Mineta San Jose International Airport.
In Alamo, yellow warning signs and small yellow flags run parallel to backyard fences along the corridor marking the pipeline's location.
In 2004, the same pipeline exploded in Walnut Creek after being punctured by a backhoe. The explosion killed five workers, injured four others and resulted in Kinder Morgan paying tens of millions of dollars in fines and restitution to victims and their families.
County and Kinder Morgan officials have found fencing, retaining walls, bridges, stairs, pavers, landscaping, drainage and other structures encroaching into the Iron Horse Corridor and into the Kinder Morgan easement. Fence posts have been found within inches of the high-pressure pipeline.
"The county's main concern is working with property owners that are in the Kinder Morgan pipeline easement," Ricci said. "Property owners that are encroaching in the Kinder Morgan easement will be required to remove the encroachment."
Ricci said encroachments not in the Kinder Morgan easement may be allowed to remain on a case-by-case basis. Those property owners may be required to sign a license agreement, pay an annual charge and provide insurance for use of county property.
Items such as bridges, steps, steppingstones, pavers and other types of structures will not be allowed under any circumstances, according to a Contra Costa County Public Works fact sheet.
Kinder Morgan spokeswoman Emily Mir said the company is committed to public safety, protection of the environment and the safe operation of all its assets. She said third-party hits are the biggest threats to pipelines and that educating the public to their locations is important to prevent accidental hits.
The meeting will be held at the Alamo Chamber of Commerce office, 120 B Alamo Plaza.
Contact Jason Sweeney at 925-847-2123. Follow him at Twitter.com/jason_sweeney.