2017 Pipeline Awareness Newsletter
Vandalism & Pipelines – What could it mean for you?
In communities across the country, law enforcement agencies are actively partnering with pipeline operators to protect community safety during protest demonstrations and to prevent vandalism to local pipeline infrastructure. Over the past year, anti-pipeline activists, prompted by permitting decisions for new pipeline projects, organized protests and attempts to intentionally damage pipeline facilities. Coordinated vandalism targeting pipeline infrastructure in four states prompted federal regulators to issue a bulletin in 2016 warning communities that damage to piping and aboveground system assets can have significant community safety consequences.Read More
Pipelines – fueling your community
The energy and fuels we use every day move across the country from production sites to end users through a variety of methods including tanker trucks, rail cars, ships and pipelines.Read More
What is a pipeline right-of-way?
For the pipeline industry, protecting pipelines and keeping communities safe are the top priorities.
This commitment begins even before a pipeline is built when operators secure an easement agreement from each landowner, utility or other government entity. This agreement provides the operator permission to build and maintain a pipeline on the land and govern the activities permitted by both the landowner and the pipeline operator.
Operators typically use the term “right-of-way” when referring to the land governed by the easement. Rights-of-way allow operators to easily access pipelines for monitoring, maintenance and emergency situations.
Not all rights-of-way are the same size. Some are defined with specific sizes and boundaries, while others are undefined. Many factors determine the width of a right-of-way, including the number and size of pipelines located within it, the wishes of the landowner and pipeline operator, and state or federal regulations.
While exact terms vary, easement agreements typically contain certain right-of-way restrictions designed to protect the pipeline and keep neighbors and the broader community safe.
Common Right-of-Way Restrictions
Right-of-way encroachment is a pipeline industry term that refers to violations or deviations from the terms outlined in the easement agreement.
Because they have the potential to affect pipeline integrity and safety, the following activities are often prohibited within the right-of-way:
- • Building residential structures
- • Installing a swimming pool or sprinkler system
- • Storing vehicles or flammable materials
- • Planting trees, shrubs or gardens
- • Removing tree stumps
- • Pouring a driveway
Depending on the details of the easement agreement, these activities may be restricted or require special approval of the pipeline company.
<strong)Rights-of-way provide easy access to the pipeline for monitoring, maintenance and emergency situations.
As a public official
You may receive requests to provide property owners with copies of their easement agreements; these are often made available through county clerks.
You may be involved with general land-use decisions that impact pipeline rights-of-way; review the report, model ordinances and resources provided by the Pipeline Informed Planning Alliance at https://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/comm/pipa/pipa_audience_local_government.htm
Pipelines in your Community
A red marker in the middle of a park. A white sign mounted on a fence. A yellow post on the side of the road. Pipeline markers may come in different shapes, colors and sizes, but all of them identify the general location of underground pipelines and utility lines and provide critical safety information for the public.Read More
Know the hazards – Products and Facilities
Safety Information for Public Officials
• Natural Gas
• Petroleum Gas
• Petroleum Liquids
• Anhydrous Ammonia
• Carbon Dioxide
• Hydrogen Gas
• “Sour” Crude Oil and “Sour” Gas
Types of Pipeline Systems
Gathering Pipelines collect oil and natural gas from production fields. These pipelines are generally found in rural areas.
Transmission Pipelines carry larger quantities of energy resources—like oil, natural gas and other fuels—longer distances from production areas to refineries, processing plants, storage facilities and distribution system connection points.
Distribution Pipelines deliver natural gas to manufacturing, commercial and residential customers to produce electricity, provide heat, cook food and run machines that make products and provide services.
Know the Hazards – Products and Facilities
Safety Information for Public Officials
Click the image for a PDF file with more information about these products.
Leak, Hazard & Emergency Response Information
Preparing for a pipeline emergency
Interview with Allen Dodson
Faulkner County Judge Allen Dodson served as Local On Scene Coordinator for emergency response during the 2013 Pegasus Pipeline spill in Mayflower, AR. Here’s his advice for preparing for a pipeline emergency in your community. Read More
Access free online training resources for responders in your community at papapipelinevideos.org.
The site includes reference resources, videos and nine interactive training scenarios including modules for 911 dispatchers, fire, law enforcement and HAZMAT.
Preventing Damage to Pipelines
Pipelines and underground utility lines were damaged more than 275,000 times in 2015.
According to the Common Ground Alliance’s DIRT report, almost 40% of these damages occurred during work to water and sewage systems and road and highway projects.
Public officials can protect community safety by encouraging the agencies and contractors they manage to participate in the One Call process for every project, even if they are exempt from state legal requirements.
Calling 811 or submitting an online ticket at clickbeforeyoudig.com initiates notification to pipeline and underground utility operators who will mark the location of their lines and be available to discuss project considerations. Learn more about One Call requirements in your community by visiting call811.com and download excavation best practices at commongroundalliance.com/best-practices-guide.
Safer Gas Storage Facilities
Storage Facilities Near You
Learn more about the gas storage facilities in your community using the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) interactive map. The EIA website also provides information regarding aboveground tanks and underground storage in oil and natural gas reservoirs, aquifers and salt caverns.
Maps of storage facilities can be accessed at eia.gov/state/maps.
New federal regulations aim to strengthen operations and maintenance procedures.
Building & maintaining safe pipelines
Pipeline operators maintain detailed integrity management plans that include ongoing operations and maintenance activities, right-of-way patrols, in-line inspection, sampling and other activities. They also follow specific engineering, design and construction standards. Read More
Searching and sniffing for leaks
Pipeline operators are using drones with infrared cameras, cars with methane detectors and even dogs to identify leaks. In this photo, Pipe Dogs Technician Richard Eckles and a sniffer dog search for pipeline leaks.
Do tree roots impact pipeline safety?
Pipeline operators actively maintain rights-of-way including clearing trees when they believe they pose a threat to the integrity of the pipeline Read More
If you have questions about the Pipeline Association for Public Awareness, our programs or need more information from any of our members, please visit www.pipelineawareness.org. Here you’ll find a U.S. map with dropdown menus that filter by county level.
Copies of materials provided to the General Public or Emergency Response Officials
Pipeline members will send you copies of the materials they provide to the general public or emergency officials in your area. Just email your request to the company contact person listed in the Pipeline Member Directory.
Pipeline Integrity Management Plans
Member companies will provide additional information about their integrity management program upon request. This information may be posted on their website, or it may be obtained through the company contact person listed in the Pipeline Member Directory.
Excess Flow Valves
New federal regulations expands use of excess flow valves (EFVs) to include singlefamily residents, multi-family residents and small commercial businesses that meet certain system requirements.
Local public officials can view online maps of hazardous liquid and gas transmission pipelines, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plants and breakout tanks in their community through the Pipeline Information Management Mapping Application (PIMMA). Login or request PIMMA access at
PHMSA resources for pipeline safety stakeholders include:
PHMSA Stakeholder Communications Website: http://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/comm/
National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS): http://www.npms.phmsa.dot.gov
Community Liaison Services: http://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/comm/CATS.htm