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In the movie Minority Report, police use supernatural methods to solve crimes and arrest criminals before the crime is committed. In Encanto, something similar has happened.

In this case, however, the “criminal” was a defective pipe, and the “crime” would have been the leaking of gasoline into the ground. The methods involved, though far from supernatural, are still complex, as this potential leak was stopped long before it occurred.

On Saturday, February 14, Jonathan Uribe of Montijo Taint Tech used a jackhammer to access a leaking pipe at the Exxon gas station on Imperial Avenue in Encanto. He was willing to stop for a few minutes to explain what was going on.

How did he know that a fuel leak was possible in the future? Because during a test of the underground pipe system, something did leak: air.

Uribe explained that the leak occurred in the "secondary" pipe; fuel travels underground from storage tanks to each pump through a "primary" pipe. This pipe has a secondary pipe surrounding it, so that if fuel ever leaks out of the primary, the secondary will prevent it from reaching the surrounding soil.

As dictated by the State of California, periodically air is pumped into the secondary pipe and pressurized at five psi for an hour. If that pressure does not remain steady until the end of the hour, it's evident that the secondary has a leak...or, more accurately, a potential leak, should the primary pipe ever fail.

How did Jonathan Uribe know where to dig? After a leak is determined with air pressure, helium gas is then pumped into the secondary system. Helium will gradually migrate upward, where it can be detected. Using a detailed diagram of the buried pipes’ location, Uribe knew where to begin jackhammering.

The State of California created these testing regulations in 1987 and gave gas-station owners a ten-year deadline to make the upgrades. Uribe explained that when the requirements were imposed in the late ‘90s, many "mom and pop" gas stations didn't have enough money to make repairs, and thus went out of business.

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Hudsonumber3 Feb. 19, 2009 @ 11:01 a.m.

How cheap. The teaser for this article is so far off from what the story is actually about. Nice try, but its still a boring article.


Steve Terry Feb. 19, 2009 @ 10:47 p.m.

Hudsonumber3, I want to thank you for your comment! It's the first time anyone has commented on my stringer work, ever! Makes my day, dude. And you're right, it is a boring story. Which leads me to realize, I've never had a comment before now because [probably] people fall asleep while reading my stories and then wake up the next morning, mouse hanging by its cord off the edge of the desk. By then they have to get off to work, and have no time to comment. Thanks for staying awake at least for as long as it took you to comment. --Steve


eds Feb. 20, 2009 @ 2:37 a.m.

What exploded? There were how many dead bodies? Damn, I thought I heard an explosion. How did they sweep up all the body parts? Were guts splattered all over the street? How did they clean up all that blood?


eds Feb. 20, 2009 @ 2:38 a.m.

my comment is more interesting than your story.


Joe Poutous Feb. 23, 2009 @ 8:01 a.m.

Thanks for the story Steve. I learned something new.

  • Joe

Steve Terry March 1, 2009 @ 10:51 a.m.

to eds: you are right, your comment was way more interesting than my story, I have to give you that!


Steve Terry March 1, 2009 @ 10:52 a.m.

Tikicult, thanks for your comment :) --Steve


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