PIPELINE EMERGENCIES – CALL: (800) 835.7191
Our gas control and monitoring center offices operate 24-hours a day, seven days a week. We regularly patrol our pipeline rights-of-way. We conduct regular inspections of our pipeline system, and our Operations employees receive regular training and are qualified under U.S. Department of Transportation standards for natural gas pipeline operators. We spend millions of dollars per year in pipeline replacements and upgrades. Employees are on-call at all times ready to respond to any situation.
In addition, we work with emergency responders to make them aware of our pipelines and how to respond in case of emergency.
While natural gas pipelines have a proven record of safety, pipeline failures can, and sometimes do, occur. Hazards associated with a pipeline failure and gas release may include blowing gas, line rupture, fire, explosion or, if gas is present in a confined area, possible asphyxiation. Damages by outside forces, often by someone digging into a pipeline, is the largest single cause of a pipeline failure. Incidents also may occur due to corrosion, material failure, equipment failure or other causes.
In accordance with federal regulations, some segments along the pipeline have been designated as High Consequence Areas. In these areas, we have developed supplemental assessments and prevention plans. A summary of the Integrity Management Program plans can be viewed at our office in Charleston, West Virginia.
Preventing Pipeline Accidents
Whether you are planning to build a major development, or perform a landscape project, do it safely by first calling your state’s one-call notification service. Every digging job requires that you call your state one-call center, even for small projects like planting trees or shrubs. To reach your local one-call center, regardless of where you are digging, you may dial “811” or you may dial your state’s one-call center directly. Nationally you may call 1-888-258-0808.
- Not just digging: Call before blasting or crossing with heavy equipment. Not only does the law require people performing excavation to call first, but anyone crossing pipeline rights-of-way with heavy equipment or performing blasting in the vicinity of pipelines, must contact the state one-call notification service.
- What if you dig and disturb a pipeline? Whether or not you’ve notified us in advance, if you dig and expose, hit or touch a pipeline or associated facility, contact us immediately. If gas is leaking also contact 911 or your local fire department. Even if it looks minor at the time, a gouge, scrape, scratch, dent or crease to the pipe or coating may cause a future safety problem. It is important that the pipeline company inspect any potential damage, whether apparent or not.
Safe Digging is no Accident — How to Recognize a Natural Gas Pipeline Leak
You may see:
- Dirt being blown or appearing to be thrown into the air
- Water bubbling or being thrown into the air at a pond, creek, river or other wet area
- Fire coming from the ground or appearing to be burning above the ground
- Dead or dying vegetation on or near a pipeline right-of-way in an otherwise green area
- A dry or frozen spot on the right-of-way
You may hear:
- A roaring, blowing or hissing sound coming from a gas pipeline leak
You may smell:
- A gas or petroleum odor, although you should realize that not all gas is odorized, so you may not be able to detect a gas leak by smell
Here’s what to do if you suspect a gas pipeline leak:
- Turn off and abandon any motorized equipment you may be operating
- Leave the area quickly
- Warn others to stay away
- From a safe place, call 911 to reach your local fire or police department. Call the pipeline operator’s 24-hour toll-free telephone number
- Use open flames or bring anything into the area that may spark ignition (cell phones, flashlights, motorvehicles, electric or cordless tools, etc.)
- Attempt to operate pipeline valves
Pipeline Markers Show General Location of Pipeline Facilities
Our pipelines are identified by markers placed at intervals along pipeline rights-of-way. Markers display our 24-hour emergency telephone number and may contain other identifying information. They are generally placed wherever needed to indicate the presence of a pipeline such as where pipeline easement intersect streets, railroads, rivers, and in heavily congested areas.
Pipeline markers are important to public safety. It is a federal crime for any person to willfully deface, damage, remove or destroy any pipeline sign or right-of-way marker required by federal law. While the markers are very helpful to indicate the presence of pipelines in the area, they don’t show the exact location, the depth,or necessarily how many pipelines are in the right-of-way. Don’t rely solely on the presence or absence of a pipeline marker. Always call your state’s one-call notification service to have underground facilities marked.
A Special Message for Emergency Responders and Public Officials
Millennium Pipeline Company views emergency responders as part of our safety team. It is important for public safety officials to be familiar with pipeline facilities in their area. That is why we participate in joint forums with other pipeline companies, distribute literature, and work with emergency responders to prepare for any situation. If, as a public official, you are not familiar with our operations, we encourage you to speak to a company representative to learn more about suggested emergency action procedures and the actions our company takes in the event of an emergency.
In the event of a pipeline facility emergency, we will immediately work to control the situation, stop or reduce gas flow to the affected area, notify appropriate public safety officials and work with them during the emergency, repair the facility and restore service to customers, and investigate the cause of the incident.
Security and Maps
We ask for everyone’s help in keeping our facilities safe and secure. Besides watching for signs of a gas leak or unauthorized digging along the pipeline rights-of-way, please be alert for any unusual or suspicious activity and report it to your local law enforcement agency, or employees of Millennium Pipeline. Millennium employees always carry and will gladly show photo identification.
The National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) is a geographic information system (GIS) created by PHMSA to provide information about pipelines and operators in your area. To obtain a printable version of a map showing the natural gas transmission pipeline operators in your area visit www.npms.phmsa.dot.gov/.