Call 8-1-1 damage prevention programs help reduce excavation damage to buried pipelines.
The pipeline industry’s highest priority is the safety of people and the environment in the continuous pursuit of operating with zero incidents. More than 2.7 million miles of pipelines run safely throughout the U.S., mostly unseen, bringing energy to homes, businesses, and utilities. Pipelines travel safely through neighborhoods, farmland, forests, and deserts. Energy products traveling through pipelines reach their destination without incident 99.999% of the time.
As part of the planning process, a major pipeline project must include a detailed study of its environmental impacts. The potential impact of a pipeline on natural resources, wildlife, habitat and cultural resources are all considered.
Experts from industry, government and academia have partnered to create a series of standards and recommended practices to provide guidance to companies as they construct pipelines. Pipelines are inspected throughout construction by federal and state officials. Pipeline companies regularly go above and beyond regulations through environmental protection best practices. Any land temporarily disturbed during pipeline construction is restored following pipeline completion.
Once placed in operation, highly-trained personnel monitor pipelines from control rooms 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Robust inspection and maintenance programs also safeguard the environment.
Advanced materials, expert engineering, continuous monitoring and inspections keep water safe. Before pipelines carry any product, they are rigorously tested at high pressure to demonstrate there are no leaks in the pipe or its weld joints.
Pipelines are constructed with highly-durable materials, including steel and advanced composites. In addition, operators use special coatings that resist corrosion to protect the pipeline’s integrity.
Advanced engineering and construction practices like horizontal directional drilling (HDD) can burrow the pipeline 100 feet or more beneath the bottom of a waterbody, never coming into contact or close to the water itself.
Control rooms for each pipeline are staffed with highly-trained personnel, who monitor the pipeline 24/7/365 and can stop the flow if there is an issue or take action to respond in case of emergency.
Pipelines are the most environmentally friendly way to transport fuel. Pipelines help lower carbon emissions by reducing the need to transport fuel by truck or train, which both have higher levels of carbon emissions.
The increased availability and use of natural gas, made possible by new pipelines and expanded energy infrastructure, has already helped to lower U.S. carbon emissions from electricity production. According to the Department of Energy, our nation’s carbon emissions are at their lowest level in decades because of the increased use of natural gas.
Following pipeline construction, crop production and raising livestock can safely resume on land with underground pipelines. When a pipeline is installed, farmers are compensated for use of their land and paid for any losses resulting from any disruption to crop production or grazing.
Natural gas and oil transported by pipelines is essential to modern agriculture. Natural gas is used for fuel and grain-drying, oil fuels tractors and equipment. Both are essential building blocks for manufacturing fertilizer.
Pipelines have a strong track record of safety and have not experienced widespread leaks as a result of natural disasters. For instance, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline did not spill any oil as a result of a major 7.9-magnitude earthquake in 2002. Computer-aided pipeline monitoring can rapidly detect issues so that operators can quickly shut down pumps and close valves to isolate segments if necessary during a natural disaster.