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| CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 15
Meeting Date: August 27, 2002
Subject/Title: Consent Calendar: Second Reading and adoption of Ordinance No. 715 amending the City of Brentwood Municipal Code by Adding Chapter 15.68, Gas Shutoff Devices
Submitted by: Community Development Department (Mitch Oshinsky/Louis R. Kidwell)
Approved by: John Stevenson, City Manager
Waive the second reading and adopt Ordinance No. 715 to amend the Brentwood Municipal Code by adding Chapter 15.68 – Gas Shutoff Devices.
At its meeting of August 13, 2002, the City Council introduced and waived the first reading of Ordinance No. 715.
The Ordinance Amendment adds language to the Municipal Code to require the installation of automatic gas shut-off devices in new construction, as well as in remodels that alter gas piping. In most of California, as well as in Brentwood, homes and public buildings use natural gas and consequently are vulnerable to potential explosions caused by disconnected or broken gas lines. In the past, gas lines have been broken by earthquakes, floods, and construction accidents. Because this danger exists downstream of the gas meter it is not the responsibility of the utility company, leaving the problem in the public’s domain. In response to this, over the past several years, cost effective technologies have been developed to mitigate this problem.
Protection for public buildings and our citizen’s homes in the event of a catastrophic event is a critical public safety issue. Many organizations including: The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), The U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Earthquake Engineering International (EQE) have published reports that document significant loss of life and property as a result of natural gas fires. These same reports present sobering estimates for future events. Accordingly, there have been calls from leading government officials and agencies including President Bush, US Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), and FEMA to increase protection and reduce potential damage wherever possible.
With the invention of cost effective technologies, preventative measures can be easily taken at the time of new construction or at the time of modifications to an existing building. With resolution to this problem so easily attainable, many jurisdictions have adopted ordinances to solve this problem. The counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, and Marin, as well as the cities of Clayton, Hercules, Lafayette, Martinez, Moraga, Oakley, Orinda, Pinole, Pittsburg, and Richmond have identified gas pipeline safety as a public policy issue. In response, they have adopted ordinances requiring installation of automatic gas shut-off devices. This Ordinance is consistent with the Ordinance adopted by these jurisdictions.
There are several manufacturers of these devices and there are various capacity requirements depending on the size of the system on which the device will be installed. Depending on the variables, the cost of the device, including installation by a licensed plumber, should range from $150 to $300.
ORDINANCE NO. 715
AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BRENTWOOD ADD CHAPTER 15.68 GAS SHUT-OFF DEVICES TO THE MUNICIPAL CODE.
WHEREAS, Pursuant to the California Health and Safety Code Section 17958.5 and 17958.7, the City of Brentwood City Council hereby finds that it is necessary to modify the requirements of the California Building Standards Code due to local climatic, geographical, or topographical conditions. (See attached findings, exhibit A); and
WHEREAS, a Notice of Public Hearing was legally advertised in the Ledger Dispatch on August 2, 2002, and posted according to City policies and Government Code 65090; and
WHEREAS, The City Council of the City of Brentwood held a public hearing on the proposed addition on August 13, 2002 for the purpose of reviewing the addition; and
WHEREAS, after the close of the public hearing, the City Council considered all public comments received both before and during the public hearing, the presentation by City staff, the staff report, and all documents and associated actions regarding the proposed amendment.
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the City Council of the City of Brentwood hereby amends the municipal code of the City of Brentwood by adding the following:
CHAPTER 15.68 - GAS SHUT-OFF DEVICES
15.68.010 DEFINITIONS. For the purpose of this section certain terms shall be defined as follows:
A. "Downstream of gas utility meter" refers to all customer-owned gas piping or in liquid petroleum gas installations shall refer to the gas piping on the structure side of the gas regulator.
B. "Residential building" means any single-family dwelling, duplex, apartment building, condominium building, townhouse building, lodging house, congregate residence, hotel, or motel.
C. "Excess flow gas-shut-off device" means those valves or devices that are not actuated by adoption but are activated by significant gas leaks or over- pressure surges, which can occur when pipes rupture inside the structure. The design of the device provides a proven method to automatically provide for expedient and safe gas shutoff in an emergency. The design of the device shall provide a capability for ease of consumer or owner resetting in a safe manner. The device is certified by the State Architect or the operational and functional design of the device meets or exceeds the device certified by the Office of the State Architect. The determination of whether the operational and functional design of the device is at least equal to the device certified by the State Architect may be made by one of the following: the Independent Laboratory of the International Approval Services (IAS), Underwriter’ s Laboratory
(UL), International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), or any other recognized listing and testing agency
D. "Seismic gas-shut-off device" means a system consisting of a seismic sensing means and actuating means designed to actuate automatically a companion gas shut off means installed in a gas piping system in order to shut off the gas downstream of the location of the gas shutoff means in the event of a severe seismic disturbance. The system may consist of separable components or may incorporate all functions in a single body. The device is certified by the State Architect, and the operational and functional design of the device meets or exceeds the device certified by the Office of the State Architect. The determination of whether the operational and functional design of the device is at least equal to the device certified by the State Architect may be made by one of the following: the Independent Laboratory of the International Approval Services (lAS), Underwriters Laboratory (UL), International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), Office of the State Architect, or any other recognized listing and testing agency.
E. "Upstream of gas utility meter" refers to all gas piping installed by the utility up to and including the meter and the utility’ s bypass tee at the connection to the customer owned piping.
F. "Gas shut-off device," as used in this section, refers to either a seismic gas shut-off device or excess flow gas-shut-off device.
15.68.020 DEVICES: WHEN REQUIRED.
Approved seismic gas-shut-off devices (motion sensitive) or approved excess flow gas-shut-off devices (non-motion sensitive) shall be installed:
A. In any new building construction (commercial, industrial or residential) containing gas piping for which a building permit is first issued on or after the effective date of the ordinance;
B. In any existing residential, commercial or industrial building, when any addition or alteration is made to the interior of a building that contains gas piping, and a building permit is required for said work; or
C. When any plumbing permit is issued for gas piping.
A. Gas-shut-off devices installed on a building prior to effective date of this ordinance, are exempt from the requirements of this section provided they remain installed on the building or structure and are maintained for the life of the building or structure.
B. Gas-shut-off devices installed on a gas distribution system owned or operated by a public utility shall not be subject to the requirements of this chapter (Health & Safety. Code Section 19201(b).
C. Installation of gas shut-off devices is not required for building permits issued for minor and non-structural repairs such as re-roofing, window replacement, siding replacement, decks and any other minor permit as determined by the Chief Building Official.
15.68.040 DEVICES: LOCATION REQUIRED.
A. Seismic gas-shut-off devices shall be installed downstream of the gas utility meter or liquid petroleum tank on each fuel gas line where the gas line serves a building; and/or
B. Excess flow gas-shut-off devices shall be installed downstream of the gas utility meter or liquid petroleum tank on each fuel gas line where the gas line serves a building and at each gas appliance within a building.
15.68.50 GENERAL REQUIREMENTS.
Gas-shut-off devices installed either in compliance with this ordinance or voluntarily, with a permit issued on or after the effective date of this ordinance, shall comply with the following requirements:
A. Be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’ s instructions;
B. In the case of seismic gas-shut-off devices (motion sensitive) only, such devices must be mounted rigidly to the exterior of the building or structure containing the fuel gas piping. This requirement need not apply if the building and safety division determines that the seismic gas shutoff device (motion sensitive) has been tested and listed for an alternate method of installation;
C. Seismic gas-shut-off devices shall be certified by the State Architect and be listed by an approved listing and testing agency such as IAS, IAMPO, UL or the office of the State Architect;
D. Have a thirty (30) year warranty which warrants that the valve or device is free from defects and will continue to properly operate for thirty (30) years from the date of installation; and
E. Where gas-shut-off devices are installed voluntarily or as required by this section, they shall be maintained for the life of the building or structure or be replaced with a valve or device complying with the requirements of this section.
15.68.60 LIST OF APPROVED VALVES AND DEVICES.
The building division of the City of Brentwood shall maintain a list of all seismic gas-shut-off devices (motion sensitive) and excess flow gas-shut-off devices (non-motion sensitive) which meet or exceed the requirements of devices certified by the Office of the State Architect for installation in the State of California and which comply with the standards and criteria set forth in Health and Safety Code section 19180 et seq., including quality and design regulation for earthquake actuated automatic gas shutoff systems (see 24 Cal. Code Regs. Ch. 12-16-1).
THE FORGOING ORDINANCE was introduced with the first reading waved at a regular meeting of the Brentwood City Council on the 13th day of August, 2002, and adopted at a regular meeting of the Brentwood City Council on the 27th day of August, 2002, by the following vote:
FINDING OF NEED FOR STRICTER CONSTRUCTION STANDARDS
DUE TO LOCAL CONDITIONS
I. Stricter Construction Standards
Pursuant to California Health and Safety Code section 19101 which allows the City of Brentwood to enact an ordinance establishing stricter construction standards than those imposed by the earthquake protection law (Health & Safety Code section 19100 et seq.), the Brentwood City Council, in adopting Ordinance No. 715, regarding gas shut-off devices, finds as follows.
Pursuant to Health & Safety Code sections 17958.5 and 17958.7 the Brentwood City Council finds that the adoption of certain construction standards which may be stricter than those set forth pursuant to the State’s earthquake protection law (Health & Safety Code section 19100 et seq.) is needed and is reasonably necessary because of certain local climatic, geological, and topographic conditions as described below.
A. Geological and Topographic
City of Brentwood is located in Seismic Risk Zone 4, which is the worst earthquake area in the United States. Buildings and other structures in Zone 4 can experience major seismic damage. Brentwood is in close proximity to numerous earthquake faults including the San Andreas Fault and contains all or portions of the Hayward, Calaveras, Concord, Antioch, Mt. Diablo, and other lesser faults. A 4.1 earthquake with its epicenter in Concord occurred in 1958, and a 5.4 earthquake with its epicenter also in Concord occurred in 1955. The Concord and Antioch faults have a potential for a Richter 6 earthquake and the Hayward and Calaveras faults have the potential for a Richter 7 earthquake. Minor tremblers from seismic activity are not uncommon in the area.
A study released in 1990 by the United States Geological Survey says that there is a 67% chance of another earthquake the size of Loma Prieta during the next 30 years, and that the quake could strike at any time, including today. Scientists, therefore, believe that an earthquake of a magnitude 7 or larger is now twice as likely to happen as to not happen.
State Route 4 runs the length throughout Brentwood. This state route divides Brentwood into west and east. An overpass or undercrossing collapse would significantly alter the response route and time for responding emergency equipment. This would cause congested during a significant emergency.
Earthquakes of the magnitude experienced locally can cause major damage to electrical transmission facilities and to gas lines in buildings, which in turn start fires throughout the City of Brentwood. The occurrence of multiple fires will quickly deplete existing fire department resources; thereby reducing and/or delaying their response to any given fire.
A major earthquake could severely restrict the response of the Fire Districts and their capability to control fires involving buildings of wood frame construction, with ordinary roofing materials and flammable exteriors, or with large interior areas not provided with automatic smoke and fire control systems. Also, when buildings not equipped with earthquake structural support move off their foundations, gas pipes may rupture. Fires develop from line ruptures and spread from house to house, causing an extreme demand for fire protection resources.
The area is replete with various soils, which are unstable, clay loam and alluvial fans being predominant. These soil conditions are moderately to severely prone to swelling and shrinking, are plastic, and tend to liquefy.
Throughout Brentwood, the topography and development growth has created a network of narrow roads. These roads vary from gravel to asphalt surface and vary in percent of slope. Several of these roads extend up through the hills providing access to affluent housing subdivisions. Some of these roads are private with no established maintenance program. During inclement weather, these roads are subject to rock and mudslides, as well as down trees, obstructing all vehicle traffic. It is anticipated that during an earthquake, several of these roads would be unpassable so as to prevent fire protection resources from reaching fires cause by gas line ruptures or other sources.
Highly combustible dry grass, weeds, and brush are common in the hilly and open space areas adjacent to built-up locations six (6) to eight (8) months of each year. Many of these areas frequently experience wildland fires, which threaten nearby buildings, particularly those with wood roofs, or sidings. This condition can be found throughout Brentwood, especially in those developed and developing areas of the City of Brentwood. Earthquake gas fires due to gas line ruptures can ignite grasslands and stress fire district resources.
The above local geological and topographical conditions increase the magnitude, exposure, accessibility problems, and fire hazards presented to the Fire District resources. Fire following an earthquake has the potential of causing greater loss of life and damage than the earthquake itself. Most earthquake fires are created by natural gas developed from gas line ruptures. Hazardous materials, particularly toxic gases, could pose the greatest threat to the largest number, should a significant seismic event occur. Public safety resources would have to be prioritized to mitigate the greatest threat, and may likely be unavailable for smaller single dwellings that were caused by broken gas lines.
Other variables may tend to intensify the situation:
1. The extent of damage to the water system
2. The extent of isolation due to bridge and/or highway overpass collapse.
3. The extent of roadway damage and/or amount of debris blocking the roadways.
4. Climatic condition (hot, dry weather with high winds).
5. Time of day will influence the amount of traffic on roadways and could intensify the risk to life during normal business hours.
6. The availability of timely mutual aid or military assistance.
7. The large portion of dwellings with wood shake or shingle coverings could result in conflagrations.
8. The large number of dwellings that slip off their foundations and rupture gas lines resulting in further conflagrations.
1. Precipitation and Relative Humidity
Precipitation ranges from 12 to 18 inches per year with an average of approximately 14 inches per year. Ninety-six (96) percent falls during the months of October through April and four (4) percent from May through September. This is a dry period of at least five (5) months each year. Additionally, the area is subject to occasional drought. Relative humidity remains in the middle range most of the time. It ranges from forty-five (45) to sixty-five (65) percent during spring, summer, fall, and from sixty (60) to ninety (90) percent in the winter. It occasionally falls as low as fifteen (15) percent.
Locally experienced dry periods cause extreme dryness of untreated wood shakes and shingles on buildings and non-irrigated grass, brush and weeds, which are often near buildings with wood roofs and sidings. Such dryness causes these materials to ignite very readily and burn rapidly and intensely. Gas fires due to gas line ruptures can also spark and engulf a single family residence during these dry periods.
Because of dryness, a rapidly burning gas fire or exterior building fire can quickly transfer to other buildings by means of radiation or flying brands, sparks or embers. A small fire can rapidly grow to a magnitude beyond the control capabilities of the Fire District resulting in an excessive fire loss.
Temperatures have been recorded as high as 114º F. Average summer highs are in the 75º - 90º range, with average maximums of 105º F .
High temperatures cause rapid fatigue and heat exhaustion of firefighters, thereby reducing their effectiveness and ability to control large building, wildland fires, and fires caused by gas line ruptures.
Another impact from high temperatures is that combustible building material and non-irrigated weeds, grass and brush are preheated, thus causing these materials to ignite more readily and burn more rapidly and intensely. Additionally, the resultant higher temperature of the atmosphere surrounding the materials reduces the effectiveness of the water being applied to the burning materials. This requires that more water be applied, which in turn requires more fire resources in order to control a fire on a hot day. High temperatures directly contribute to the rapid growth of fires to an intensity and magnitude beyond the control capabilities of the Fire District.
Prevailing winds in Brentwood are form the north or northwest in the afternoons. However, winds are experienced from virtually every direction at one time or another. Velocities can reach fourteen (14) mph to twenty-three (23) mph ranges, gusting to twenty-five (25) to thirty-five (35) mph. Forty (40) mph winds are experienced occasionally and winds up to fifty-five (55) mph have been registered locally. During the winter half of the year, strong, dry, gusty winds from the north move through the area for several days, creating extremely dry conditions.
Winds such as those experienced locally can and do exacerbate fires, both interior and exterior, to burn and spread rapidly. Fires involving non-irrigated weeds, grass, brush, and fires caused by gas line ruptures can grow to a magnitude and be fanned to an intensity beyond the control capabilities of the fire services very quickly even by relatively moderate winds. When such fires are not controlled; they can extend to nearby buildings.
Winds of the type experienced locally also reduce the effectiveness of exterior water streams used by the Fire District on fires involving large interior areas of buildings. Local winds will continue to be a definite factor toward causing major fire losses to buildings not provided with fire resistive roof and siding materials and buildings with inadequately separated interior areas, or lacking automatic fire protection systems, or lacking proper gas shut-off devices to shut off gas when pipes are ruptured. National statistics frequently cite wind conditions, such as those experienced locally, as a major factor where conflagrations have occurred.
These local climatic conditions affect the acceleration, intensity, and size of fire in the City of Brentwood. Times of little or no rainfall, of low humidity, and high temperatures create extremely hazardous conditions. The winds experienced in Brentwood can have a tremendous impact upon structure fires. During wood fires, or exposure fires, or gas fires, winds can carry sparks and burning brands to other structures, thus spreading the fire and causing conflagrations. In building fires, winds can literally force fires back into the building and can create a blow torch effect, in addition to preventing “natural” ventilation and cross-ventilation efforts.
C. Automatic Gas Shut-Off Devices to Prevent Gas Fires Caused by Pipeline Ruptures and Breaks
(a) Types of Devices
Two types of automatic shut-off devices are available to prevent gas from escaping from broken or ruptured pipes caused by earthquakes or other manmade reasons.
(1) Seismic Gas Shut-off devices operate by motion created by earthquakes. In the event of gas pipe ruptures caused by earthquakes, these devices can stop gas from escaping into buildings, thus preventing fires and explosions. Earthquake seismic valves are those valves approved by the Department of the State Architect of California (DSA) as devices capable of preventing the release of gas due to gas line ruptures caused by earthquakes. Seismic valves to be used in California must pass a certification program administered by the DSA.
(2) Excess flow valves are devices operated by pressure or excess flow. In the event of a gas line rupture due to an earthquake, these devices can stop the flow of gas from escaping into buildings, thus preventing fires.
The design of the device shall provide a proven method to provide automatically for expedient and safe gas shutoff in an emergency. The design of the device provides a capability for ease of consumer or owner resetting in a safe manner. The device can be certified by the State Architect or the operational and functional design of the device meets or exceeds the device certified by the Office of the State Architect. The determination of whether the operational and functional design of the device is at least equal to the device certified by the State Architect may be made by one of the following: the Independent Laboratory of the International Approval Services (IAS), Underwriter’s laboratory (UL), International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), or other recognized listing and testing agency.
(b) Need for Maximum Protection
(1) Since there are many devices having different means of preventing gas escape which are on the private market, all of which can potentially protect buildings from fires and explosions due to gas line ruptures, it is important to provide as many options to the public for their use and protection. Devices which prevent gas escape from gas line breaks and ruptures should be approved by public or private non-profit agencies regarded as credible in their fields, as the above.
2. Fire Protection Resources Preserved
(a) By requiring automatic gas shut-off valves in all new building construction and in certain remodeled buildings, the likelihood of fire and explosion will be reduced, thus not taxing fire resources of Fire Districts.
(b) In addition, there are several studies that have been conducted by public and private agencies which recognize that the use of automatic gas shut-off valves will reduce the amount of damage to property and loss of lives in earthquakes.
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