Underground pipeline systems are the most efficient and safest way to transport vital oil and natural gas across the U.S. Often unseen avenues, people living and working near pipelines are not always aware of common safety practices. It is important for everyone to be familiar with the location of the pipeline, recognize and report any unauthorized activity or abnormal conditions and know how to safely react in the unlikely event of a pipeline emergency.
Chaparral operates more than 392 miles of oil, natural gas and CO2 pipelines in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas. We monitor our pipelines 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year to ensure the safety and integrity of our operations. In addition, we treat corrosion threats and conduct regular patrols and inspections of our pipelines and related rights-of-way (ROWs) to ensure the safety of our employees, neighbors and the environment.
Markers and warning signs are placed aboveground to indicate the general location of pipelines buried beneath the surface. This includes near river, railroad and street crossings and other heavily congested areas. These markers do not, however, show the exact location, depth, pressure or number of pipelines. You should also remember that pipelines do not always follow a straight path.
Yellow flags are used to temporarily mark the general location of a pipeline in a proposed excavation area. Be familiar with permanent markers and the information they contain including the:
It is important to dig with CARE as damage from excavation-related activities is the leading cause of pipeline incidents.
By law you are required to call 811 at least 48 hours prior to performing any excavation or logging activities. This includes starting home projects, such as building a pool or fence, widening a driveway or planting a tree. If Chaparral operates pipeline in the vicinity, we will be notified and will locate and mark our pipeline with temporary flags or spray paint before you dig at no cost to you.
Call Before You Dig
Use white paint, flags or stakes to mark intended dig sites and then dial 811 to contact the state’s one-call center.
Allow Time for Marking
Wait the required time before beginning any excavation activities. Marks should be made using the colors indicated by the American Public Works Association Uniform Color Code.
Respect the Marks
Verify the location of marked facilities and check for unmarked facilities before digging. A photograph of the marks should be taken before excavation begins.
When excavating in the tolerance zone — 18” - 24” on each side of the marked facility — only use non-invasive methods, such as hand digging or vacuum excavation. An observer should be designated to watch for potential dangers or damages when digging around a pipeline.
Although pipeline leaks are uncommon, it is important to be able to recognize the warning signs. Sight, smell and sound are the common ways to recognize a possible pipeline leak. You should, however, remember that not all of these signs may occur at the same time.
The scent of gas, petroleum or an unusual odor, such as rotten eggs
An unusual hissing or roaring noise
A right-of-way (ROW) is a defined clearing above and on either side of a pipeline. It is typically identified by pipeline marker signs and allows operators access to conduct regular inspections and in the event of an emergency. An encroachment is a structure or object that overlaps the ROW that might impede access or pose a significant risk to the pipeline and should not be installed without permission from the pipeline company. Examples include: