Every year there are thousands of accidents due to improper digging around utilities in our yards that go unreported. For the most part when there is a mistake which causes puncture on a residential line or one in the street no one gets hurt but in some cases tragedy happens.
For this reason it is always important to understand where your utility lines are located and the methods for avoiding them.
Where are primary gas pipelines located?
Near roads, railroads, water crossings and along pipeline right-of-ways.
Where are residential feed lines located?
They are normally located in the most direct path from your street line to your gas meter that is located on the exterior of your home. Unfortunately home owners can not check for these underground lines accurately and a line inspector should be called before any digging starts.
How are Pipelines Marked?
Since pipelines are buried underground, line markers like the ones shown above are used to indicate their approximate location along the route. The markers can be found where a pipeline intersects a street, highway, water crossing or railway. Also, meter sets, like the one shown above, are an indication of a natural gas pipeline.
What to do before you start digging
Whether you are a contractor or a home owner you must call Miss Utility services in your area. This is true even if your specific home does not have natural gas but homes in the area may or if you have underground utilities of another type. Most of us have water and sewer so this includes most of us.
811 is the National Call Number and it should work in your area. If you do not have this service then you should call a local utility or your local fire company. Remember don’t call 911 unless it is an emergency.
What to do in an Emergency
Evacuate the area immediately.
Call 911 and report the problem to your police and fire company
Call your local utilities company to report an emergency. Do not stay on hold most utilities have an emergency option in their phone menu.
Remember call 911 after you have evacuated the area.
When your utility company receives your call they will dispatch personnel to the site to help handle the emergency and to provide information to public safety officials to aid in the response to the emergency. We will also take the necessary operating actions starting and stopping equipment, closing and opening valves, and similar steps to minimize the impact of the leak,
REMEMBER: PUBLIC SAFETY PERSONNEL AND OTHERS UNFAMILIAR WITH THE PIPELINE INVOLVED IN THE EMERGENCY SHOULD NOT ATTEMPT TO OPERATE ANY 0F THE VALVES 0N THE PIPELINE.
Improper operation of the pipeline valves or equipment could make the situation worse and cause other accidents to happen. Chesapeake offers free training to Emergency Responders on how to handle emergencies with our pipelines.
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.
HOW DO YOU RECOGNIZE A PIPELINE LEAK?
SIGHT – Look for fire or explosion near a pipeline, a spot of dead or discolored vegetation amid healthy plants, bubbles coming from bodies or pools of water, or dirt being blown in the air. These may be signs of a possible leak around the pipeline area.
SOUND – Listen for any unusual noise like a hissing or roaring sound.
SMELL – A penetrating and pungent odor similar to rotten eggs may accompany a pipeline leak. Do NOT remain in the area.