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Pipeline Safety

At Air Products, pipeline safety is paramount. We design and operate our pipelines to meet or exceed Federal and State pipeline safety regulations.

Air Products is committed to the highest safety standards in the operation of our pipelines. More than 75 years later, we have enjoyed one of the best pipeline safety records in the industry.

What are pipelines?

Pipelines are underground systems for transporting liquid and gas products. They are the safest, most economical system of transportation for products vital to our way of life. Our country is crisscrossed with thousands of miles of underground pipelines delivering products such as oil, gasoline, home heating oil, natural gas, and industrial gases.

Air Products is committed to the safe operation of pipelines for the public and our environment. Some precautionary methods that Air Products uses to maintain an outstanding safety record include 24-hour surveillance, routine inspections, computer or instrument monitoring, corrosion protection, maintenance/testing programs, and employee training.

With proper knowledge, you can help us keep your community safe. Learn how to prevent pipeline emergencies, how to recognize a pipeline leak, and what to do if a leak occurs.

We want to continue that safety record, and we need your help. By knowing and understanding the important information contained on this website, you can help us continue to keep your neighborhood or workplace safe.

 


If you are a Public Safety Official

Emergency Action Procedures for Public Safety Officials.

If you are a public safety official, you know to take whatever steps you deem necessary to safeguard the public in the event of a pipeline emergency. The following suggestions are offered as a guide:

  • Secure the area around the leak to a safe distance. This could include the evacuation of people from homes, businesses, schools, and other locations; the erection of barricades to control access to the emergency site; and similar precautions.
  • If the pipeline leak is not burning, take steps to prevent ignition. This could include prohibiting smoking, rerouting traffic, and shutting off the electricity and gas supply.
  • If the pipeline leak is burning, try to prevent the spread of the fire, but do not attempt to extinguish it. Burning products will not explode. If the fire is extinguished, gas or vapor will collect and could explode when re-ignited by secondary fires.
  • Contact the pipeline company as quickly as possible. Pipeline marker signs show the pipeline company's name, emergency telephone number, and pipeline contents.

Air Products' Actions During an Emergency

We will immediately dispatch personnel to the site to help handle the emergency and provide information to public safety officials to aid in the emergency response. We will also take the necessary operating actions—starting and stopping pumps, closing and opening valves, and similar steps—to minimize the impact of the leak.

PLEASE NOTE: Public safety personnel and others unfamiliar with the pipeline involved in the emergency should not attempt to operate any of the valves on the pipeline. Improper operation of the pipeline valves could make the situation worse and cause other accidents to happen. 

 


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. 

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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. 

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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. 

 


If You Live or Work Near a Pipeline

How can you tell where a pipeline is located?

Since pipelines are buried underground, line markers are used to indicate their approximate location along the route. The markers can be found where a pipeline intersects a street, highway, railroad, and at other locations along the pipeline. 

The markers display the material transported in the pipeline, the name of the pipeline operator, and a telephone number where the operator can be reached in the event of an emergency. 

If you plan to dig, you are required to call 811, 48 hours prior to any excavation as defined by law. Pipeline representative will mark the location, route, and depth of the pipelines at no charge. 

It is a federal crime to remove or deface a pipeline marker sign.

Pipeline marker signs are important to public safety. It is a federal crime for any person to willfully deface, damage, remove, or destroy any pipeline sign or Right-of-Way marker. 

Are markers always placed on top of the pipeline?

Markers indicate the general location, not the exact position, of a pipeline. They do not tell the depth or number of pipelines in the vicinity. 

How can you recognize a pipeline leak?

  • Sound—Listen for any unusual noise coming from the pipeline.
  • Sight—A spot of dead vegetation in an otherwise green location may indicate a slow leak.
  • Flames (if leak has ignited)—Caution; some products burn with an almost invisible, pale blue flame. If you suspect a fire, do not enter the area.

Note: Not all Air Products pipelines carry flammable products. 

What should you do if you suspect a leak?

  • Your first concern should be for your personal safety and that of those around you.
  • Immediately leave the area of the leak.
  • Remain upwind of the area of the leak.
  • Avoid driving in the area near the leak.
  • Avoid direct contact with escaping gas or liquids.
  • Avoid creating sparks or other sources of heat that could cause the escaping products to ignite and burn. If you find yourself in an area where you suspect flammable vapors are present, do not light a match, start an engine, or even switch on an electric light.
  • Turn off any running machinery (engines).
  • Immediately call your local 911 emergency number or notify your local fire department, police department, or other public safety officials. Tell them the location and nature of the emergency.
  • Immediately notify the pipeline operator. Call collect. Give the location, a description of the leak, and your name. (Keep the pipeline telephone number with your other emergency numbers; i.e., fire, police, ambulance. The telephone number is on the pipeline marker sign.)
  • Do not attempt to extinguish a fire on the pipeline Right-of-Way.

Pipeline contents can vary greatly.

  • Air Products pipelines carry both flammable and nonflammable gases.
  • Many pipelines contain colorless and odorless products.
  • Some pipeline gases are lighter than air and will rise.
  • Other heavier-than-air gases will stay near the ground and collect in low spots.
  • Any pipeline leak can be potentially dangerous. 

Is there a pipeline on your property?

As a property owner, you may not be aware that a pipeline runs through your property. You can be sure by checking your property drawing or title report for pipeline easements. Rights-of-Way agreements, or easements, are written agreements between pipeline companies and landowners which permit pipeline companies to operate and maintain the pipeline through the landowner's property. 

Easements give the pipeline company the right to access the pipeline area or "Right-of-Way." The pipeline Right-of-Way must be clear of any buildings, structures, or other "encroachments" which could restrict access to the pipeline. Right-of-Way easements protect the public and the pipeline. 

Always call 811 as before digging as required by law.

About our pipeline Rights-of-Way 

Pipelines are constructed on land that the pipeline company either owns ("fee land") or on which it holds an easement. A Right-of-Way agreement is called an easement. Easements provide us with a permanent, limited interest in the land and enable us to operate, test, inspect, maintain, and protect our pipelines. 

Please keep our Rights-of-Way clean

Since we must have ready access to our pipelines at all times, it is important that our Rights-of-Way be kept free from obstructions. Don't plant trees or install structures, patios, pools, wells, or septic systems on the pipeline easement. 

Review your easement agreement for uses that are permitted on our Rights-of-Way. 

Home and landowners are required by law to call 811 prior to any excavation near a pipeline easement. In addition, the pipeline owner can be called. 


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