Pipelines that carry natural gas and crude oil are an important part of our Butler County economy. These pipelines carry products that are vital to our everyday lives.
The Pipeline Integrity Act of 2002 mandated that specific requirements be implemented for ensuring the integrity of liquid and natural gas pipeline systems throughout the United States. As a part of this program companies are required to provide information to Public Officials and Emergency Officials regarding pipeline safety. The following is a summary of information that I received recently:
How would you recognize a pipeline leak?
Sight- Natural gas is colorless but vapor and “ground frosting” may be visible. A gas leak may also be indicated by bubbles in wet or flooded areas or patches of dead vegetation.
Sound- Volume may range from a quiet hissing sound to a loud roar depending on the size of the leak.
Smell- Natural gas is odorless unless commercial odorants are added. A gaseous or hydrocarbon smell may accompany a pipeline leak.
In the event of a leak what not to do:
Do Not cause any open flame, or other source of ignition such as an electrical switch or vehicle ignition.
Do Not come into direct contact with any escaping liquids or gas.
Do Not drive into a leak or vapor cloud while leaving the area.
Do Not attempt to operate any pipeline valves yourself.
Do Not attempt to extinguish a petroleum product or natural gas fire. Wait for local fireman trained to deal with such emergencies.
In the event of a leak what to do:
Turn off any equipment and eliminate any ignition sources without risking injury.
Leave the area by foot immediately. Try to direct any other bystanders to leave the area. Attempt to stay up wind.
From a safe location call 911.
Pipeline right-of-ways are identified by pipeline markers typically seen where a pipeline intersects a street, highway, or railway.
Most serious damage done to pipelines is done when a third party inadvertently excavates, blasts, or drills within a pipeline right-of-way. The law requires that a call be made to 811 from anywhere in the country prior to digging or excavating. In this way any pipelines or utility lines will be marked prior to beginning the project.
Rep. David Crum (R-Augusta, Dist. 77)