Priorities In Dealing With Gas Line Hits

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | April 2013, Vol. 68 No. 4
Jerry Gann

Most high-pressure transmission gas lines and liquid lines are marked with signs. But most gas distribution and service lines are unmarked and contractors and utility crews must depend on 811 One-Call or other locating sources. Contractors often make these locates themselves and also verify markings made by One-Call.

Lessons learned

So what is to be learned from all of this?

First, said Gann, prevention is the main key by calling the 811 One-Call before excavating, then digging carefully around the markings.

In the event of accidental pipeline damage, remember (in this order) to protect life, then property, he emphasized.

“Remembering those two things will help guide your actions in the critical first few moments of a gas leak,” Gann said. “When making the area safe, the characteristics of natural gas will remind you it is colorless, will go up in the air like a balloon and if covered up will migrate taking the path of least resistance. So take the appropriate actions and set up barricades accordingly.

“Finally, working with emergency responders and gas company personnel will help expedite the safe repair of the pipeline. For more information about pipeline safety, visit the local gas company’s or pipeline operator’s website,” he suggested.