Simple Steps to Protect Pipelines

Pipelines are the safest way to transport energy products; however, every year pipeline accidents occur most often due to improper or unauthorized digging near underground lines.

Pipeline operators carefully build, monitor and maintain the integrity and security of their lines.  Read more about how pipeline operators protect and maintain their lines.

Here’s what you can do to help protect the pipelines near your home or business:

1.  Find Pipelines Near Your Home or Business

Virtually everyone lives or works near a pipeline.  If you have natural gas appliances in your home or business, pipelines and piping connect the appliances to natural gas distribution meters and lines.  You may also live near a gathering or transmission pipeline or aboveground pipeline facility.

Find the pipelines and aboveground facilities near where you live or work.  Write down the name of the pipeline operator, the product transported and the emergency contact number.  Keep this information somewhere safe and accessible where you can refer to it if you suspect a pipeline problem or see unauthorized digging or other destructive activities near the line or facility.

For more information regarding how to find pipelines near your home or business and how to obtain emergency contact numbers refer to “Find Pipelines Near You.”

2.  Always Call 811 Before You Dig

Most state laws require homeowners and professional excavators to call 811 or their local One-Call center prior to digging.  Government and industry statistics show that improper or unauthorized digging near a pipeline is the most common cause of pipeline damage.

When you call 811, a local One-Call center representative will notify pipeline operators regarding your excavation project.  Operators will come out to locate and mark the location of their lines.  When you call One-Call, be sure to confirm the required wait time in your state and the distance you should maintain from the marks.

Once lines are located, respect the marks and dig with care.  Don’t forget to call a local professional to locate any customer-owned lines that are excluded from the One-Call process.

For more information regarding the One-Call process, temporary markings and customer-owned lines refer to “Find Pipelines  Near You.”

3.  Know & Follow Easement Agreement Restrictions

If you have a pipeline easement on your property, review the details of your agreement and talk with the pipeline operator before planting, digging or building near the right-of-way.

Easement agreements vary, but the pipeline right-of-way usually includes the land above the pipeline and approximately 25 feet on each side.  Rights-of-way are typically cleared of trees, shrubs and structures to protect the pipeline and provide access for operators to conduct inspections and maintenance procedures.

4.  Report Unusual or Suspicious Activities  & Unauthorized Excavation

If you see unauthorized excavation or other activities that could endanger a pipeline or aboveground pipeline facility, call the operator and local law enforcement.  Call the operator if you notice that the pipeline is exposed due to erosion or excavation near the line.

5.  Periodically Inspect Lines that Connect to Gas Appliances & Install a Carbon Monoxide Monitor

If you have gas appliances in your home or business, hire a professional to periodically inspect the lines that connect to your appliances from the gas meter.

It is also important that you know about carbon monoxide poisoning and how to prevent it.  Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that is colorless, odorless, tasteless and non-irritating.  Carbon monoxide poisoning can result in serious illness and even death.

Tips for preventing carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Never use natural gas ranges for heating.  Using a range as a source of heat can cause dangerous levels of carbon monoxide to build up in your home or building.
  • Consider installing a carbon monoxide monitor.  Many states require home and business owners to install monitors.  Contact your gas company for more information.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Protection to learn more about carbon monoxide poisoning.

Find Pipelines Near You

The National Pipeline Mapping System is a program that shows the approximate location of pipelines in your area.

Click here to find pipelines near you.