Natural gas and petroleum pipelines meander through many areas of the country. Although pipelines are one of the safest forms of transportation, several precautions should be taken to keep them safe.
If you suspect a problem with a pipeline or aboveground facility, including gas meters, outside your home or business, leave the area immediately in an upwind direction. From a safe location, call 911 and the pipeline operator. Do not operate vehicles, mechanical equipment, cell phones, electronic devices or any item that could create a spark near a suspected leak. Do not light a match or cigarette. Avoid contact with liquids or gases coming from the pipeline.
Energy products transported in pipelines can be odorless. It is important to use your sense of sight and sound as well as smell to identify a potential leak.
A damaged pipeline may release flammable products into the soil or the air that can be harmful to people and the environment. It is important that you know how to quickly identify a potential pipeline emergency.
Energy products transported in pipelines can be odorless. Use your sense of sight and sound as well as smell to identify a potential leak.
Signs of a potential leak may include:
- A smell similar to rotten eggs or sulfur, if odorant is added Dead or dying vegetation near the pipeline
- Pools of liquid or fire on the ground near the pipeline
- Dirt or debris blowing into the air
- A dense white cloud or fog near the pipeline
- Hissing, gurgling or roaring sounds
- Strong petroleum scent or other pungent odor
Watch for pipeline markers to identify approximate locations of pipelines. Examples of pipeline markers:
Always Call 811 Before You Dig!
Pennsylvania laws require homeowners and professional excavators to call 811 or their local One-Call center prior to digging. This is a free call for home-owners. Government and industry statistics show that improper or unauthorized digging near a pipeline is the most common cause of pipeline damage. If you do not make the call to Pennsylvania One-Call and your digging results in damage to the pipeline, you may be responsible for all damages incurred which are quite costly.
When you call 811, a Pennsylvania 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 PA One-Call, be sure to confirm the required wait time in your state and the distance you should maintain from the marks.
Oce lies are located, respect the arks ad dig with care. Do’t forget to call a local professioal to locate any customer-owned lines that are excluded from the One-Call process.
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.
Do not dig, build structures, or plant trees and shrubs in the pipeline right of way.
If a Pipeline Leak Occurs:
- Leave the area immediately. Walk into the wind away from possible hazardous fumes. Do not touch, breath, or make contact with the leaking material.
- Do not light a match, start an engine, use a telephone (even a cell phone), switch on or off light switches, or do anything that may create a spark.
- Warn others.
- Do not drive into a leak or vapor cloud area.
- Dial 911 and the pipeline operator and provide a description of the leak and its location.