Excavators, Land Developers, Farmers/Ranchers, Agriculturists: What to expect from operator public awareness programs

Whether you (or your company) move dirt at home, on a jobsite, or on a farm or ranch, it’s very likely that at least one pipeline is nearby. We know that safety is top of mind for you as you plan and conduct your work, and safety is something the pipeline industry takes seriously as well. We want everyone to go home safely at the end of the day.

Pipeline operators are required by federal law to provide information to excavators—which can include developers, farmers or ranchers, and other agricultural operators—at a minimum of once each year. Their goal is to provide information about their pipeline system and the potential hazards that may exist during the transportation of energy, particularly if pipelines are damaged through excavation/digging activities.

Materials or information received from pipeline operators in or near your communities may differ slightly, but could include:

  • How to contact the operator or find additional information on their system
  • How to determine the product(s) transported in a nearby pipeline and potential hazards associated with the product(s)
  • Information on pipeline markers and where you can find them
  • The importance of preventing damage to pipelines, particularly through excavation/digging activities
  • The steps to prevent damage to pipelines as well as when and how to report any suspected damage to a pipeline (including dents, nicks, or scratches to the coating)
  • Information on 811, the national call before you dig service, and the importance of requesting locates for all excavation or earth moving work, including exempt activities
  • How to avoid encroaching on a pipeline right of way or report potential threats (subsidence, erosion, unstable soil) in a pipeline right of way
  • How to recognize and respond to a potential pipeline emergency
  • How to safely develop land (or oversee safe development of land) near pipelines

An additional source of information for land developers and engineering firms—the Pipelines and Informed Planning Alliance (PIPA) report and community recommendations—is available through our federal regulator, the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). PHMSA: Stakeholder Communications – PIPA Hazard Mitigation (dot.gov)