Locating and Identifying Pipelines
How Can You Tell Where a Pipeline is Located?
Since most pipelines are buried underground, pipeline markers similar to those shown here are used to indicate their approximate location along the route. These markers can be found where a pipeline intersects a street, highway, railway or waterway. Markers do not indicate the exact position of the pipeline.
The markers display the material transported in the line, the name of the pipeline operator, and a telephone number where the operator can be reached in the event of an emergency. The photo on this page shows a pipeline marker and aerial marker on Enable Midstream's pipeline in North Dakota.
National Pipeline Mapping System
To view and download maps of transmission pipelines (the big pipes that carry products long distances) in your county/parish, see the National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) website, an online mapping program managed by the Federal government. Gathering lines (smaller pipes that move product from the well to the larger lines) are not shown on NPMS. This is one reason it is so important to call 811 before you dig.
What is in a Pipeline?
- Pipelines carry both gaseous and liquid materials under high pressure.
- Many pipelines contain colorless and odorless products.
- Many liquids form gaseous vapor clouds when released into the air.
- Some gases are lighter than air and will rise.
- Other heavier-than-air gases and liquids will stay near the ground and collect in low spots.
- All petroleum gases and liquids are flammable.
- Any pipeline leak can be potentially dangerous.
Pipeline Access & Security
Pipeline rights of way must be kept free from structures and other obstructions to provide access to the pipeline for maintenance and in the event of an emergency. If a pipeline crosses your property, please do not plant trees or high shrubs on the right of way. Do not dig, build, store or place anything on or near the rights of way without first having the pipeline marked and the rights of way staked. Have this done free of charge by calling 811 and providing the required notice prior to beginning of any project.
Additionally, if you witness suspicious activity on a pipeline right of way, please report it to the authorities, or you can reach us 24 hours a day, every day of the year at one of the Emergency Contacts numbers.