Pipeline Safety

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Important Safety Information

The largest cause of pipeline or other underground utility damage is from excavators or individuals striking these assets without first having them properly marked. Safety is everyone’s responsibility, and maintaining a safe pipeline system requires the public’s participation. You can help keep your community safe by knowing where pipelines are located, by utilizing your state’s One-Call system prior to digging, and by recognizing and reporting unauthorized activities or abnormal conditions. In every state, any excavator or individual, whether landscaping, building fences, installing mail boxes, or commencing a major construction project, must make a call to a state One-Call center prior to beginning any excavation activities. It’s safe, it’s free and it’s the law.

Pipeline rights-of-way (ROW) protect the public and the pipeline. The ROW allows our workers to access facilities for inspection, maintenance, testing or emergency situations; therefore, the ROW must be kept clear of any buildings, structures, excess vegetation or other encroachments that may restrict access to the pipeline.

State laws require you to maintain a minimum clearance, or tolerance zone, on either side of the pipeline, between the point of excavation and a marked pipeline. Check with your state One-Call Center for tolerance zone requirements in your state.

If you cause or witness even minor damage to a pipeline or its protective coating, please immediately notify the pipeline company. Even a small disturbance to a pipeline may cause a future leak. A gouge, scrape, dent or crease is cause enough for the company to inspect the damage and make repairs.

For information on Recognizing and Responding to Pipeline Leaks refer to the Emergency Information section. Additional safety and public awareness information can also be found in Midcoast’s Public Awareness Brochures (below)

In case of a pipeline emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency response number and the Midcoast 24-hour emergency number found in the Emergency Contact Information section.

Locating and Identifying Pipelines

Call 811 Before You Dig

It’s SAFE. It’s FREE. It’s the LAW!

Calling 811 before digging on your property is your responsibility and it’s the law. Maintaining a safe pipeline system requires the public’s participation. 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 (ROW). Because even relatively minor excavation activities like landscaping or fencing can cause damage to a pipeline, its protective coating and/or buried utility lines, always contact your state One-Call Center before engaging in any excavation, construction, farming or digging – It’s SAFE. It’s FREE. It’s the LAW.

One easy FREE phone call to 811 starts the process to get your underground pipelines and utility lines marked. Most states require 48 hours notice to the One-Call Center to allow the utility operators to mark their pipelines and utilities at your proposed digging site. 811 can be called from anywhere in the country and will automatically be routed to your local One-Call Center. You will provide the operator information such as how to contact you, where you are planning to dig and what type of work you will be doing. Utility companies who have potential facilities in the area of your dig site will be notified, and they will send a locator free of charge. Once your underground lines have been marked for your project, you will know the approximate location of your pipelines and utility lines, and can dig safely. More information regarding 811 can be found at www.call811.com.

Arkansas requires at least 2 but not more than 10 full working days advance notice before commencing digging or demolition activities. Marks are valid for 20 working days from date of issue provided work is started within 10 working days from date of issue & all marking are clearly visible within this time frame. Refer to Arkansas’s Underground Facilities Damage Prevention Law for the full regulation.

Oklahoma requires notice to be given no more than 10 days nor less than 48 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, prior to the commencement of the excavation or demolition activity. Refer to Oklahoma’s Underground Damage Prevention Act for the full regulation.

Texas requires at least 2 working days, but not more than 14 days advance notice of a digging project. Marks are valid for 14 days. Refer to Texas Utilities Code Title 5, Chapter 251, commonly known as the “One-Call-Law” and to Texas Administrative Code Title 16, Part 1, Chapter 18 for the full regulations.

Call before you dig

Pipeline Markers

Most pipelines are underground, where they are more protected from the elements and minimize interference with surface uses. For your safety, pipeline rights-of-way (ROW) are clearly identified by pipeline markers, similar to the ones illustrated here, along pipeline routes that identify the approximate – NOT EXACT – location of the pipeline. It also contains Midcoast Company information, type of product transported and the emergency contact number. Not all pipelines run straight, so while markers are useful in locating the general area of a pipeline, they do not provide the exact location or other information such as the depth of the pipeline or number of pipelines within the ROW. It is a federal crime for any person to willfully deface, damage, remove or destroy any pipeline signs or ROW marker. Pipeline markers must not be used to identify exact locations of pipelines or as a substitute for contacting the appropriate One-Call Center prior to excavation activities. The only way to ensure the location of a pipeline is to “Call Before You Dig.”

Midcoast Energy Pipeline Marker

National Pipeline Mapping System

The National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) is a geographic information system created by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) in cooperation with other federal and state governmental agencies and the pipeline industry to provide information about pipeline operators and their pipelines. To find who operates transmission pipelines in your area, visit NPMS – available online at www.npms.phmsa.dot.gov. NPMS provides a Public Map Viewer designed to assist the general public with displaying and querying data related to gas transmission and hazardous liquid pipelines, liquefied natural gas plants, and breakout tanks under Department of Transportation (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) jurisdiction. The Public Map Viewer must not be used to identify exact locations of pipelines or as a substitute for contacting the appropriate One Call system prior to excavation activities.