The Texas Pipeline Awareness Alliance (TPAA) is an association of pipeline operators that transport natural gas, petroleum and other products across Texas. The TPAA is dedicated to providing the public with an awareness and understanding of pipelines and pipeline safety.
There is an extensive network of pipelines in the state of Texas and, because they are buried and mostly out of sight, they tend to also remain out of mind. TPAA is focused on increasing awareness of those facilities, how to recognize hazards, how to request underground utilities to be marked, and how to keep you and your family safe.
The TPAA uses television, radio, magazine, newspaper and Internet advertising, in both English and Spanish, as well as participation in public events and meetings to help educate the public on their role in pipelines’ safe operation.
- Always call 811 at least two working days before digging.
- Consider moving the location of your project if it is near utility and pipelines.
- If a contractor has been hired, ask them to provide to you the reference number provided from the 811 call center. Don’t allow work to begin if the utility and pipelines aren’t marked.
Yes. Whether you are a do-it-yourselfer planning a weekend of landscaping or a professional contractor operating heavy equipment, everyone should call 811 in order to save lives and property.
You tell them about your project including location and what is being done, as well as all necessary instructions to make sure the right area gets marked. Specific driving directions are often requested to ensure that those locating underground utilities and pieplines can find your location. Callers may also provide GPS coordinates to assist the call center in finding your exact physical location.
The 811 representative will tell you which utility operators and pipeline companies will be notified about your excavation. The representative will also give you a reference number that serves as proof of your call and will keep a record of your information in case of a problem.
The utility and pipeline companies notified about your project have two working days to mark their lines.
You can look at the markers, which generally include the company name, and use the list you received when you called 811 to verify that each company has marked their lines.
If you’re not sure all lines have been marked, you can call 811 again, provide the reference number from your original call, and the representative will contact the utility or pipeline company for additional assistance.
Before you dig or you approve someone else to dig on your property, you need to make sure they have a reference number from the 811 call center and the lines have been marked. This proves compliance with the law and most importantly ensures protection of your property, protection of vital services and possibly the saving of lives!
Even if the pipeline does not appear broken or leaking after it is hit, immediately report the accident to the pipeline company so that the damage can be inspected and repaired if needed. A scratch, scrape or ding of a pipeline, if not promptly repaired, could, over time, result in a future leak or emergency.
If the damage is more serious and the line appears to be breeched or ruptured or appears cut in any way, leave the area immediately and call 911.
If there is a pipeline marker at a safe distance, also call the emergency number of the company indicated on the marker.
There are several signs of a potential pipeline leak, for example:
- A rotten egg smell
- A hissing noise
- Bubbling earth or water
- Dead or dying vegetation
- A colorful sheen on water
- Dirt being blown into the air
- A flame coming from the ground
If you see any of these signs, don’t go near and don’t ignore it. You should leave the area immediately and call 911 and the pipeline or utility company.
If the leak is inside, move outside. Do not turn on or off any sources of possible ignition, including electric switches, automobiles, or open flames. When you reach a safe distance, call 911 and the pipeline or utility company.
Digging without having utilities and pipelines properly marked is the most common source of pipeline damage and breaks.
Natural gas is naturally odorless so pipeline operators add a rotten egg or sulfur odorant to make detection easier. If you detect this odor, leave the area and call 911 and the pipeline company immediately.