safety

Natural Gas Pipeline Safety

The United States relies on natural gas for 23 percent of its energy needs. Natural gas is clean, convenient, and efficient, which makes it the country’s most popular home heating fuel. Almost all of the natural gas consumed in the United States is produced domestically and delivered via a transmission and distribution infrastructure that has an outstanding safety record.

More than 2.2 million miles of pipelines and mains quietly, reliably and efficiently deliver natural gas everyday for use by residential, commercial and industrial customers.

Ensuring Your Safety

Like all forms of energy, natural gas must be handled properly. We work very closely with industry and government agencies and stay abreast of new technologies and security methods to ensure the highest levels of service and safety. Despite an excellent safety record, a gas leak caused by damage to a pipeline may pose a hazard and has the potential to ignite.

A variety of measures are used to ensure pipeline safety including:

  • Coordination with Dig Safe®
  • Visual inspection programs
  • Design and construction techniques
  • Workforce training
  • Industry safety practices and government oversight
  • Pipeline markers and facility mapping
  • Public education programs

Preparing for Emergencies

We work with emergency responders, state and local agencies to prevent and prepare for emergencies through training and periodic drills. These exercises test procedures, logistics, communications and more. Emergency plans and procedures are periodically updated and made available to state authorities.

Commitment to Safety

We work with industry groups to continually enhance pipeline safety and training methods. At the state level, we work with regulators on programs designed to ensure the safe operation of the natural gas distribution system for customers and residents. And, as new technologies are developed in pipeline design, construction, inspections, and operations, we will continue to invest in pipeline integrity programs that will allow for the continued safe and secure delivery of natural gas.

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Pipeline Markers Show the Way

Whether you are at home, at work, or in a public place, it’s likely you are in an area served by natural gas pipelines. Since pipelines are underground, line markers are sometimes used to indicate their approximate location along the route.

The markers display the material transported in the line, the name of the pipeline operator, and the telephone number where the operator can be reached in the event of an emergency. Markers only indicate the general location of a pipeline and cannot be relied upon to indicate the exact position.

Because many lines are not marked, it is critical that you contact Dig Safe at 811 prior to any excavation.

Know What You’re Digging Into 

The greatest risk to underground natural gas pipelines is accidental damage during excavation. Even minor damage such as a gouge, scrape, dent, or crease to a pipeline or its coating may cause a leak or failure.

To protect pipelines and other underground facilities, the law requires that all excavators contact Dig Safe at 811 before excavation work begins on public or private property. This applies to home owners as well, digging to install a mailbox, fence posts, landscaping, etc.

Dig Safe will contact the gas utility owners of underground facilities in the immediate area so the location of pipelines can be marked prior to excavation. This service is performed at no cost to you. Underground pipelines often run along a public street, but may also be near private property. The area along each side of the pipeline is known as a right-of-way, which gives the facility owner the “right” to restrict certain activities, even on private property.

Right-of-way locations must be respected and are usually marked on maps filed with local municipalities. Dig Safe can provide excavators with specific details regarding precautions required in addition to having the location of underground facilities marked.

Failure to comply with the law can jeopardize public safety, result in costly damages and lead to substantial fines.

Call Before You Dig

Dig Safe is available to process requests for locating and marking underground facilities near an excavation project. Excavators are required by law to contact Dig Safe at 811 at least 72 business hours before excavation work begins on public or private property.

EVERSOURCE & CUSTOMER OWNED ​GAS LINE MAINTENANCE

Eversource takes safety seriously and looks to ensure natural gas is delivered safely and efficiently. We make sure to properly maintain our gas pipes and inspect them periodically to prevent unsafe conditions from developing.  

Eversource and other natural gas utilities are required by federal and state regulations to maintain gas lines up to and including the gas meter. At times, you may find you have questions about which parts of your service are privately owned and which parts Eversource maintains.
 
We maintain the gas pipes that run along your street and end at your gas meter.  Some Eversource customers may have buried gas lines beyond the meter, extending from the meter into their home or business. Maintenance of these gas lines is the responsibility of the gas user or property owner, not Eversource.  

If you have an underground pipe on your property that leads to a building, outdoor gas grill, gas light, pool/spa heater, generator or other natural gas appliances, a licensed plumber or heating contractor can assist in locating, inspecting and repairing leaks and corrosion.  

If this piping is not maintained, it may leak or become weak and should be periodically inspected for leaks and corrosion if the piping is metallic, and ultimately repaired if any unsafe condition is discovered.
 
Anyone excavating must take special precautions when working near underground facilities.  Buried gas piping should be located in advance and all excavation should be done by hand. A scrape, dent or crease to the pipe may cause a future leak or failure.

Safety information provided in partnership with the Northeast Gas Association.