Excavators & Contractors

Know what’s below, Call before you dig

Pipeline Networks

The United States has the largest pipeline network in the world. Pipelines deliver the raw materials that are processed into fuel that powers our lives. There are many types of pipelines through the state of Oklahoma: crude oil, refined products, liquid petroleum, natural gas, CO2 and many other chemicals as well. The safest and most cost effective transportation method for these products is through pipelines. pipeline environmental and safety record statistics show that pipelines are safer than any other means of transportation.

Pipeline operators are subject to many Federal and State regulations, as well as, Industry standards. These regulations and standards deal with all the phases of pipeline operations. From construction, maintenance and testing to operations; all are intended to ensure the continued safe operation of pipelines.

One-Call Requirements

Third Party Damage is the number one cause of pipeline damage in the United States. it is important to cal the national One-Call number 811 before digging occurs.

Call 811, before any digging activity occurs and your call will be forwarded to the Oklahoma One-Call Center better known as OKIE811. OKIE811 will process a locate request, record the digging site and then notify each affected underground utility of your digging activity at no cost to you.

The Law

The Oklahoma Underground Damage Prevention Act requires a 48 hour notice to be given by Excavators – two business days – prior to any planned digging activities.

Your work site contains many lines

Work sites may contain many types of underground utility lines. It’s important to your safety and the safety of your site and others to ensure lines have been marked before starting any dig projects. Below are the types of utility markers that are flagged.

White

Proposed excavation

Pink

Temporary survey markings

Red

Electric power lines, cables, conduit and lighting cables

Yellow

Gas, oil, steam, petroleum, or gaseous materials

Orange

Communication, alarm or signal lines, cables or conduit

Blue

Potable water

Purple

Reclaimed water, irrigation and slurry lines

Green

Sewer and drain lines

pipeline right of way

Pipelines are buried and located in what is called the Right-of-Way. Typically, ROWs are clear of any structures and/or trees and allow access to pipeline operators for maintenance, inspection and testing. Encroachment upon ROW inhibits an operator’s ability to respond to pipeline emergencies, eliminate third party damage, provide ROW surveillance, perform routine maintenance, and perform required federal/state inspections. Any encroachments found on a ROW will be removed at the cost of the property owner, so please remember to call 811 before you dig.

How to respond to a damaged or disturbed pipeline

An Integrity Management Plan (IMP) provides a process of assessing and mitigating risks along the pipeline system. Natural Gas operators call for enhanced protection for High Consequence Areas (HCAs) in highly populated areas, an outside area or open structure, or a facility occupied by persons who are confined, are of impaired mobility, or would be difficult to evacuate. Example of HCA’s include beaches, playgrounds, recreational facilities, camping grounds, outdoor theaters, stadiums, recreational areas near a body of water, religious facilities, office buildings, community centers, general stores, 4-H facilities, roller skating rinks, hospitals, prisons, schools, day-care facilities, retirement 

facilities or assisted-living facilities. High Consequence Areas (HCAs) for liquid pipeline operators may be designated as commercially navigable waterways, highly populated areas and other populated areas, or an Unusually Sensitive Area (USA) such as a drinking water source or an ecological resource or community, i.e. a wetlands or areas inhabited by threatened or endangered species. If a pipeline suffers any level of damage, scratches, scrapes or disturbance during any digging activity, it could impact the pipeline’s future integrity. Immediately contact the pipeline operator.

Annual liaison meetings are held with emergency responders to help prevent incidents and assure preparedness for emergencies.

in the unlikely event of a pipeline leak, typically, one or any combination of these helps you recognize the leak:

Sight

You might notice a pool of liquid, a white cloud or fog, discolored plants or grasses, flames or vapors near the pipeline, an oily sheen, or water bubbling without an obvious reason.

Sound

You may hear a hissing, roaring or a bubbling sound.

Smell

An unusual odor or scent of gas, petroleum liquids or a slight hydrocarbon small - natural gas is primarily odorless in gatthering and transmission pipelines until the rotten egg smell (mercaptan) is added prior to local distribution. Landfill gas has a distinct odor of its own, which can actually be stronger than the mercaptan and is a more pungent and unpleasant odor. Natural gas liquids may have a strange or unusual smell with a strong petroleum odor. At low concentrations, CO2 is an odorless gas. At higher concentrations, it has a sharp, acidic odor.

How to respond to a leak

  • Leave the area immediately by foot
  • Stay upwind
  • Direct other individuals to leave the area and stay away
  • Turn off any equipment
  • Eliminate any ignition source
  • From a safe position, call 911 and the pipeline operator emergency phone number
  • Come in contact with the escapting product
  • Operate any pipeline valves
  • Start equipment or vehicles
  • Drive into escaping product
  • Extinguish any fire

pipeline product properties

product leak type vapors health hazards fire hazards
Natural Gas
Gas
Lighter than air
Extremely high concentrations may cause irritation or asphyxiation Possible presence of H2S, a toxic gas
Extremely flammable and easily ignited by heat, sparks or flames
Highly Volatile Liquids (HVLs) = Natural Gas Liquids, Liquid Petroleum Gases, Propane, Ethane, Butane, ect.
Liquid/Gas
Heavier than air
Respiratory tract irritant; may cause central nervous system effects, drowsiness, asphyxiation
Extremely flammable liquid or vapor; vapors are heavier than air and may accumulate in low areas and travel considerable distance to ignition source
Carbon Dioxide
Gas
Heavier than air
Vapors may cause dizziness or asphyxiation without warning; contact may cause burns, severe injury and/or frostbite
Nonflammable gas; containers may explode when heated; ruptured cylinders may rocket
Crude Oil
Liquid
Heavier than air
Possible presence of H2S, a toxic gas. Irritating the eyes and skin; vapors at high concentration may cause central nervous system effects
Extremely flammable liquid or vapor; vapors are heavier than air and may accumulate in low areas and travel considerable distance to ignition source. *Not as flammable as jet fuel, gasoline, ect
Gasoline, Diesel, Jet Fuel, Heating Oil or Transmix
Liquid
Heavier than air
Irritating the eyes and skin; vapors at high concentration may cause central nervous system effects
Extremely flammable liquid or vapor; vapors are heavier than air and may accumulate in low areas and travel considerable distance to ignition source

pipeline damage prevention

Gathering Pipelines

These are usually shorter, smaller diameter pipelines that form a complex network to bring natural gas or petroleum from several nearby wells to a treatment plant or processing facility.

Transmission Pipelines

These are usually longer, larger-diameter pipelines used to move gas, petroleum or refined products between cities, countries and even continents. These transportation networks include several compressor stations in natural gas lines or pump stations for petroleum and multi-product pipelines.

distribution pipelines

These are usually composed of smaller-diameter, interconnected pipelines that are used to deliver products to the final consumer, such as homes and businesses.

other Pipelines

An additional type of pipeline is a Carbon Dioxide Pipeline. Carbon Dioxide is mostly used to enhance oil production and it is transported typically as a gas or liquid. A typical use of Carbon Dioxide is in the production of crude oil, where it makes the crude oil flow more easily, increasing production.