If you make contact with a pipeline
If your equipment makes contact with the utility line, stop your excavation and contact the utility company immediately. This includes if you nick, dent, gouge, cut, scrape, or scratch the pipeline coating, or if you damage a valve box or tracer wire connected to a gas facility. Call even if there is no apparent damage. Contacting the facility allows the gas or liquid pipeline company the opportunity to investigate and remediate if needed.
Don’t assume that damage can occur only at the point of contact. A pipeline that is pulled or bumped could break at a location away from the actual excavation site. Failure to notify the utility owner of these occurrences could result in future corrosion and/or pipeline failure.
What to do if you damage a pipeline
- DO leave the damage area Upwind, Uphill or Upstream cautiously.
- DO call 911, if damages resulted in the escape of any gas or liquid.
- DO evacuate / alert others near the scene.
- DO stay away from the scene.
- DO wait for an all clear signal to return to the area. DO contact the facility company.
What NOT to do if you damage a pipeline
- DO NOT touch any liquid or vapor that may have come from the pipeline.
- DO NOT initiate any open flame or other potential source of ignition such as an electrical switch or vehicle ignition or lighting a match.
- DO NOT smoke.
- DO NOT start motor vehicles or electrical equipment.
- DO NOT ring doorbells to notify others of the leak. Knock with your hand to avoid potential sparks from knockers.
- DO NOT drive into a leak or vapor cloud while leaving the area.
- DO NOT attempt to operate any pipeline valves yourself. You may inadvertently route more product to the leak or cause a secondary incident.
- DO NOT attempt to extinguish a petroleum product or natural gas fire. Wait for local firefighters and other professionals trained to deal with such emergencies. Burning gas will NOT explode.
- DO NOT cover the damaged pipe with dirt as a means of stopping the leak.
- DO NOT crimp plastic gas facilities.
- DO NOT attempt to plug damaged pipes.
Once notified that a pipeline or pipeline coating has been damaged, an experienced crew will be dispatched to make repairs. Only utility company personnel, using proper safety equipment and materials, shall repair or replace damaged gas or liquid facilities.
This information is made possible via the MISS Dig 811 Excavation Handbook For Gas & Liquid Pipeline.
At Ron Meyer & Associate Excavating, Inc, we’ve been providing underground and commercial construction to private and commercial businesses for 39 years. As the general contractor or subcontractor, our experienced foremen, equipment operators, pipe layers, truck drivers and well-maintained equipment fleet make us an undeniable choice for your excavating services. Let’s talk about your project!