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If Your Company Does Excavation Work

If your company does excavation work, or if you are a homeowner or farmer who occasionally digs on your property, we need your help in preventing pipeline emergencies. Records show that damage from excavation-related activities—particularly equipment digging into pipelines—are the No. 1 cause of pipeline accidents. Without proper coordination, excavation activities in the vicinity of underground pipelines can result in very dangerous situations.

Are There Pipelines Near Where You Plan to Dig?

Excavation-related activities—particularly equipment digging into pipelines—are the No. 1 cause of pipeline accidents.

To determine if there are pipelines in the area where excavation is planned, call the 811 system, 48 hours prior to any excavation as defined by law. A pipeline representative will mark the location, route, and depth of the pipelines at no charge. In addition, you can look for pipeline markers at nearby roads, railroads, fences, and streams. Also check the property and deed records. These may show that a pipeline is nearby.

Markers Show That a Pipeline Is Near.

Pipeline markers only show the general area where the pipeline is located. Don't try to guess the exact route or location of the pipeline from the placement of the markers. Call the 811 system. In addition, the pipeline company can be called at the telephone number shown on the marker. They will send a representative to mark the location, route, and depth of the pipeline.


Air Products Offers "Three Steps to Safety"

Step 1—Notify Us of a Planned Excavation

Excavators must notify 811 about their plan to dig near our pipelines, since only excavators know where and when they plan to dig. Give us as much lead time as possible. (Remember, notification is required by law.) This is accomplished by calling the 811 system for the initial contact.

Step 2—Location and Marking

An Air Products representative will meet with the excavator to determine if any of our pipelines are nearby. If one of our pipelines is in the excavation area, our representative will provide marking to show the pipeline location, route, and depth. We do this safely, using detailed maps, line finders, and probing rods.

Step 3 —Inspection During and After Excavation

An Air Products representative will be on the site as necessary during and after excavation to ensure the safety of our pipelines. Our representative will inform the excavator of procedural requirements necessary for the protection of the pipeline. Your cooperation will provide a safe working environment for everyone.

Remember, even a scrape in the coating or a dent to the pipeline needs to be reported to the pipeline company and the proper authorities according to your state law. If not promptly and properly repaired, it could result in a future leak or a serious accident.


Call 811 Before You Dig 

Most communities have an excavation notification system known as One-Call. When you call 811, the One-Call center notifies the pipeline company or other owner of buried utilities. The company will send a representative to the proposed excavation site to mark the location of the buried pipeline or utility.

Contact 811 at least 48 hours in advance before digging anywhere—even in your backyard—for fences, flagpoles, landscaping, storage buildings, foundations, swimming pools, ground clearing, deep plowing, laying underground pipe or wiring, with anything such as heavy equipment like a backhoe, or even a posthole digger or a pick. In most states, calling 811 before digging is required by law. If the One-Call service is not available in your area, refer to the pipeline marker or the National Pipeline Mapping System or the pipeline operators in your community.

If You Are Digging and Cause a Pipeline Break . . .

  • Abandon equipment.
  • Leave the area immediately.
  • Warn others.
  • Keep traffic out of the area.
  • Keep well upwind of any suspected leak.
  • Call 911
  • Notify public safety officials, such as the local fire and police departments, and tell them the location and nature of the problem.
  • Notify the pipeline company immediately.  

And Please . . .

If you are digging and disturb a pipeline or pipeline coating—even if you cause what seems to be only minor damage to the pipeline or pipeline coating—for your safety notify the pipeline company immediately. A gouge, scrape, dent, or crease to the pipe or coating may cause a future break or leak. It is imperative that the pipeline owner inspect and repair any damage to the line.

Back to Pipeline Safety

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