Our commitment to Public Awareness
America’s extensive pipeline network gathers, processes and transports natural gas and petroleum products to homes, businesses and industrial facilities every day. Since people rely on these products, pipelines play an important role in our economy and quality of life. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, pipelines are the safest and most economical method of transporting these products.
At Enable, we do our part by designing, operating and maintaining our pipeline systems with a focus on safety and reliability. Pipelines can be located almost anywhere. Here’s what you need to know to stay aware and stay safe.
Where are Pipelines Typically Located?
Pipelines can be located almost anywhere. A few examples include:
- Near residential neighborhoods, schools and sports facilities
- Throughout commercial or industrial areas
- Parallel to or underneath paved and unpaved roads, railroad tracks and bridges
- Below farmland
- Across or parallel to rivers, lakes and streams
- Close to parks and hiking trails
The important thing to remember is that while most pipelines are buried out of sight, they should never be out of mind. Everyone should try to become familiar with where pipelines are located near their homes, workplaces or commonly visited areas.
How can Pipeline Damage be Prevented?
Keeping rights of way (ROWs) free of encroachments is an essential element of maintaining pipeline integrity and safety. Encroachments on pipeline ROWs inhibit the pipeline operator’s ability to reduce third-party damage, provide surveillance and perform routine maintenance and required federal/state inspections.
A leading cause of pipeline incidents is caused by failure to follow safe digging practices during excavation activity. You can help prevent pipeline damage by doing the following:
- Be aware of pipeline markers and associated pipelines in your area
- Keep the names and contact information of pipeline operators in a permanent location in or near your phone(s)
- Be aware of unusual or suspicious activity or excavations taking place near the pipeline ROWs and report activity by calling 911 and Enable
- Call 811 before you dig
- Call Enable if you damage a line
- Call 911 if you cause a leak
Keep in mind:
- Always call 811 prior to excavation
- Any kind of displacement of the earth is considered excavation
- All forms of digging are considered excavation
- The use of heavy equipment is not the only form of excavation
Emergency Response Planning
The safety and well-being of each employee and the public is what we value most. We are committed to building and maintaining relationships with emergency responders whose communities could be affected by a pipeline emergency.
We work with a number of collaborative organizations to provide pipeline safety training and meet with emergency response agencies who have jurisdiction in our areas of operation. These face-to-face and virtual events offer emergency responders an opportunity to receive valuable training, ask specific questions of representatives from multiple pipeline companies, exchange contact information and possibly receive a grant for their agency. These organizations also attend many emergency response-related conferences and community events to further extend these efforts.
We request all emergency response agencies make plans to attend at least one of the events listed in your area. If your agency attends a collaborative event, the ranking official in attendance from your agency will be asked to complete an Emergency Response Capabilities Survey. The survey data will then be provided to all sponsoring pipeline operators for that organization. If your agency is not available to attend a face-to-face or virtual event, you can complete the Emergency Response Capabilities Survey below. This will help everyone work together to effectively protect the communities we serve.
Planning for Your Community
It is crucial to coordinate with pipeline operators when developing site plans in land-use, zoning and property-development activities. There are a variety of tools available for public officials and their communities to help mitigate and understand pipeline risks, including:
- The National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) – The NPMS provides basic information on transmission lines, including operator name, pipeline diameter, location and commodities transported
- Pipelines and Informed Planning Alliance (PIPA) – PIPA improves the way local planning and zoning officials plan new development and land used near transmission pipelines, therefore reducing risks and enhancing the safety of affected communities and pipelines
Never use these tools in place of calling 811 prior to starting an excavation project. In addition, never rely on pipeline markers as an indicator of a pipeline’s exact location. Markers provide the approximate location and general area of a pipeline. Tools, such as the NPMS, do not display all underground pipelines or other utilities.