Pipeline Safety

Pipeline Safety

National Fuel has been building and operating natural gas pipelines for more than a century. Our highest priority is the safety of our customers, employees and the communities we serve. We are proud of our safety record and have a well-established culture of continuous improvement in all aspects of safety. To that end, we consistently meet or exceed safety targets established by various regulators and spend millions of dollars annually on system improvements and maintenance.

Pipeline facilities are constructed and maintained to meet or exceed federal safety codes:

  • High-strength carbon steel with modern fusion-bonded epoxy coating
  • Coating protected with Rockshield and/or select screened backfill
  • Minimum three feet of cover
  • 100 percent of welds are x-rayed
  • Hydrostatic testing
  • Remote control valves
  • System monitored 24/7 by National Fuel’s Gas Control Operations Center
  • Regulated/inspected by FERC and U.S. Department of Transportation (PHMSA)

Federal and state pipeline safety codes require that utilities and pipeline operators comply with extensive requirements for design, construction, testing, inspection, and operations and maintenance of facilities up to and including customer meters. In carrying out our responsibilities, it’s important that we regularly communicate with stakeholders involved in or affected by pipeline safety.

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Public Education and Public Awareness Programs

National Fuel’s pipeline public awareness programs are designed to enhance public safety by increasing the public’s knowledge of pipeline locations and safety issues. By sharing information with property owners, businesses, excavators, emergency responders, public officials and other interested parties, our endeavors raise awareness of our pipeline facilities and help the public better understand the role they can play in pipeline safety.

Find additional pipeline awareness information and resources through Northeast Gas Association.

More Info

Contractor Safety

It’s imperative that contractors and excavators use caution and work safely around natural gas pipelines or other facilities. The following steps are important for any excavation work:

Always​ Call Before You Dig

Call 8-1-1, the toll-free hotline, a few days before any excavation project. Local utilities will mark any underground lines in the area of your excavation, and you will be able to proceed safely.

Be Aware of Pipeline Markers

While this is not a substitute for calling 8-1-1 before you dig, these markers identify the general location of pipelines.

Read Our Encroachment Manuals

Developers and excavators are encouraged to read our encroachment manuals prior to the development of any construction plans. These manuals explain right-of-way agreements, encroachment agreements, construction requirements and other valuable information.

Get an Application

Get an encroachment application to build or construct in the vicinity of a National Fuel pipeline or other facilities.

Encroachment Application

In the Event of Pipeline Damage or Suspected Gas Leak

In the event you damage a pipeline during excavation or otherwise suspect a gas leak, immediately turn off any motorized or powered equipment and get away from the immediate area. Promptly call National Fuel’s emergency number. Do not attempt to repair a leak yourself.

1-800-444-3130

View More Information on Excavation Damage Prevention

For more information on excavation damage prevention, view the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) best practices. We have also developed guidelines for contractors and excavators who are working around our pipelines.

CGA Best Practices

Get the Contractor Excavation Guide for Your State

For Additional Information, Please Contact the National Fuel Damage Prevention Coordinator for Your State

New York: 716-827-5539

Pennsylvania: 814-871-8499

Locating Pipelines

Since most pipelines are buried underground, pipeline markers are used to indicate their approximate locations along routes. They cannot be relied upon to indicate the exact position of pipelines. The markers can be found where pipelines intersect streets, highways or railways.

Any markers should display the material transported in the line, the name of the pipeline operator and a telephone number where the operator can be reached in the event of an emergency. If you’re unsure, call us.

To identify the location of pipelines in your area, access the National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) Public Viewer.

If you have a need for more precise information on the location of the pipeline facilities, contact us and arrangements will be made to have a company representative show you where the pipeline facilities are located: 1-800-365-3234

NPMS Public Viewer

Information for Developers and Boards

While new developments and pipelines can safely coexist, it is extremely important to thoroughly consider natural gas pipelines when developing building or construction plans. To promote responsible land development near pipelines, the Pipeline and Informed Planning Alliance (PIPA) has developed recommended practices for property developers and planning boards on building safely near natural gas pipelines.

The following steps are important when developing building or construction plans:

Always determine the location of natural gas pipelines when developing design plans. Call 8-1-1 to obtain information on the location of pipelines prior to developing any building or construction plans. Consider implementing the PIPA recommended practices when developing building plans near pipelines.

Familiarize yourself with National Fuel’s encroachment manuals. These manuals explain right-of-way agreements, encroachment agreements, construction requirements and other valuable information for developers looking to begin the design phase.

Get an encroachment application to build or construct in the vicinity of a National Fuel pipeline or other facilities.

Encroachment Application

For more information on National Fuel’s encroachment policies, please contact National Fuel’s Land Department:

Contact National Fuel well in advance with information on planned projects that could impact our pipelines, especially planned public improvement projects, including road reconstruction and sewer and water line replacement or installation.

Projects that involve grade changes within road rights-of-way, drainage, full-depth road reconstruction, paving and restoration beyond the curb line may involve replacement of our facilities and require six to 12 months’ advance notice for us to design, bid and construct new facilities. For more information, please contact our Engineering Services Department: 716-857-7967.

Provide National Fuel’s Contractor Excavation Guide to your contractors and inspectors and urge them to enforce proper excavation practices during construction. Following these guidelines can greatly reduce the risk of damage and its consequences.

Information for First Responders and Emergency Management Agencies

First responders (e.g., police, firefighters and emergency medical personnel) may confront natural gas safety hazards when responding to emergencies. First responders must be prepared for varying levels of incidents that could involve natural gas. It’s our goal to help first responders work safely in emergencies where natural gas facilities are involved.

The following information will help first responders prepare for such events:

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The Location of Pipelines

National Fuel provides a system map of company facilities to emergency management agencies for both New York and Pennsylvania.

The National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) is a web-based mapping tool which provides detailed maps and basic information about pipelines by commodity for each state and county in the United States.

Pipeline markers indicate the presence and approximate location of natural gas pipelines. Pipeline markers should display the material transported in the line, the name of the pipeline operator, and a telephone number where the operator can be reached in the event of an emergency. Our representatives can always be reached 24/7 in the event of an emergency: 1-800-444-3130

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Emergency Response Plan

There are many things to consider when developing an emergency response plan that protects people, property and the environment.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the National Association of State Fire Marshalls (NASFM) produced pipeline emergencies, which includes an updated training manual, related videos and instructor guides which are tailored to the needs of first responders.

AEGIS, a mutual insurance company which provides liability and property coverage, and risk management services to utility and energy companies, offers several videos for first responders dealing with electric and natural gas hazards.

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Formal Training on How to Properly Handle a Gas Emergency

We offer online gas safety training programs designed for first responders. The First Responder Natural Gas Safety Training Program is a self-directed, interactive, online training package that provides emergency response personnel with the information needed to safely identify and respond to incidents that involve natural gas pipelines and other natural gas facilities. This free training program was designed in partnership with fire chiefs, safety trainers, educational experts and instructional design professionals. It’s a comprehensive curriculum that’s dynamic, easy to use and effective.

National Fuel sponsors free training to first responders and emergency management agencies in our service territory and in the communities in which our aboveground facilities are located. For more information or to see if your agency qualifies for free training, contact National Fuel’s Risk Management Department: 814-871-8248.

In New York, you can contact Professional Utility Services: 716-912-3295

In Pennsylvania, you can contact Fire Investigative Technologies: 814-806-4369

We conduct periodic emergency drills and onsite meetings at operating facilities with local EMAs. For more information, contact us: 814-837-9585 ext. 228

National Fuel contracts with Paradigm Liaison Services to conduct annual pipeline safety and natural gas-related emergency response training.

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If a Potential Gas Leak Has Been Reported to Your Agency

Immediately notify us at our 24/7 emergency number, 1-800-444-3130, if you suspect the incident involves National Fuel facilities. If you are unsure which company the pipe belongs to, call 8-1-1 and they can provide a list of pipeline operators in the area.

NOTE: If you believe that an elevated response is required due to the scope or size of the incident, please relay this when you notify us.

Once onsite, take the following actions:

  • Warn others and form a safe perimeter. Evacuate surrounding structures as needed.
  • Avoid creating sparks or sources of heat which could cause gas to ignite and burn. Do not light a match, start an engine, use a phone or light flares.
  • Avoid driving into the suspected leak area.
  • Do not shut off any valves unless directed by National Fuel personnel.
  • Coordinate with other utilities to shut off electric power and telephone lines to a home or neighborhood to eliminate potential ignition sources.
  • Protect people first, property second.
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