Pipeline Safety Info > Pipeline Safety Info > Damage Prevention
Call Before You Dig. It's The Law!
Because even relatively minor excavation activities like landscaping or fencing can cause damage to a pipeline, its protective casing, and/or buried utility lines, always contact your state's One-Call Center before engaging in any excavation, construction, farming, or digging. Most states require two working-days' notice to the One-Call center to allow the utility companies to mark their pipelines and utilities at your proposed digging site. In fact, most serious damage done to pipelines is done when a third party inadvertently excavates, blasts, or drills within a pipeline right-of-way. By contacting the One-Call Center first, this type of damage can be prevented. Sometimes pipeline companies will require a representative to be present to monitor the safe excavation.
Download the One-Call Requirements!!! One Call Listing
State and federally regulated pipeline companies maintain Damage Prevention Programs. The purpose of these programs is to prevent damage to pipelines and facilities from excavation activities, such as digging, trenching, blasting, boring, tunneling, backfilling, or by any other digging activity.
Utilities and pipelines are marked using the APWA Color Code System. Private lines, such as the natural gas service line after the meter or a home-owner's own installed gas line, are not marked by utility companies.
Personnel from the pipeline or underground utility company themselves may come to perform the location of the underground facility. Outside utility locating services may be contracted by the companies to perform the actual work.
WHAT IS A RIGHT-Of-WAY AND CAN I BUILD OR DIG ON IT?
Pipeline companies work diligently to establish written agreements, or easements, with landowners to allow for ease of construction and maintenance when they cross private property. Rights-of-way (ROW) are often recognizable as corridors that are clear of trees, buildings or other structures except for the pipeline markers. A ROW may not have markers clearly present and may only be indicated by cleared corridors of land, except where farm land or crops exist. County Clerk’s Offices also have record of easements which are public record.
Encroachments upon the pipeline right-of-way inhibit the pipeline operator’s ability to reduce the chance of third-party damage, provide right-of-way surveillance and perform routine maintenance and required federal/state inspections. In order to perform these critical activities, pipeline maintenance personnel must be able to easily and safely access the pipeline right-of-way, as well as areas on either side of the pipeline. Keeping trees, shrubs, buildings, fences, structures and any other encroachments well away from the pipeline ensures that the pipeline integrity and safety are maintained.
For questions concerning the pipeline or right-of-way or about future property improvements or excavations, contact the pipeline operator.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
While accidents pertaining to pipeline facilities are rare, awareness of the location of the pipeline, the potential hazards, and what to do if a leak occurs can help minimize the number of accidents. A leading cause of pipeline incidents is third-party excavation damage. Pipeline operators are responsible for the safety and security of their respective pipelines. To help maintain the integrity of pipelines and their rights-of-way, it is essential that pipeline and facility neighbors protect against unauthorized excavations or other destructive activities. Here’s what you can do to help: