School Pipeline Safety Toolkit
2.0 Protecting Pipelines and Schools
Government and industry statistics show that improper or unauthorized digging near a pipeline remains a leading cause of pipeline damage. The Damage Information Reporting Tool reveals that Texas leads the nation in annual damages to underground pipelines and utilities with an estimated 45,384 damages in 2017. This data suggests that pipelines may be at elevated damage risk due to local dynamics such as population, economic growth, increase in construction spending, and excavation activity.
Six Action Items to Protect Pipelines and Your School
Know What’s Below. Call Before You Dig.
School officials can also help protect pipelines by being aware of the 811 call process and enforcing 811 requirements on and near school property. Pipeline operators are members of a nationwide system of 811 call centers. When you call 811, a free service, a local 811 call center representative will notify pipeline operators regarding your anticipated excavation project. Operators will come out to locate and mark their lines for safety at no cost to you. When you call 811 in Texas, be sure to allow 48 hours for the process to be completed. Once lines are located, respect the marks and dig with care.
Industry Safeguards and Regulation
Pipelines in Texas are governed by federal and state agencies: The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the federal regulatory body, and the Texas Railroad Commission, the state regulatory body. Each work together for the common goal of protecting people and the environment by advancing the safe transportation of energy and other hazardous materials that are essential to our daily lives. These governmental agencies ensure that pipeline regulations are properly followed and enforced, resulting in greater public and environmental safety.
Operators use a combination of measures to protect our nation’s pipeline infrastructure. Pipeline companies remotely monitor their operations 24-hours per day, every day, from control centers. Additionally, operators routinely inspect their pipelines by using a variety of methods, including in-person examinations, internal inspection devices and aerial patrols. Cathodic protection, which helps protect pipelines from corrosion, is also used.