The liquid pipeline industry has a goal of error free, spill-free
operations. Achieving this goal depends mainly on the success of
efforts aimed at preventing damage to pipelines caused by digging
in or near rights-of-way.
One of the greatest single challenges
to safe pipeline operations is the accidental damage caused by excavation,
construction, farming activities – or even homeowner construction
Oil and gas pipeline companies have joined with other infrastructure
operators – electric utilities, fiber optic cables, telephone
lines, water and sewer mains – to create and finance “One
Call” centers that serve all 50 states and the District of
Columbia. While laws vary by state, they all require excavators
to contact the one-call center responsible for their area before
any digging begins.
DIG SAFELY is a campaign led by the government and underground
utilities to support communications efforts to raise public awareness
of the “One Call” process and how to contact the appropriate
center. DIG SAFELY also provides guidance on safe digging practices,
including accurately locating and marking pipelines and other underground
DIG SAFELY stresses five key reminders:
- Call Before You Dig
- Await the Required Time
- Respect the Marks
- Excavate (Dig) with Care
- Safety is Everyone's Responsibility
Before starting, everyone who digs must call the local “One
Call” center to tell them when and where they will be digging.
If a local call center is unknown, excavators can call the Dig Safely
national referral number 1-888-258-0808.
Call” is a free service to inform underground utilities or
pipeline owners of any called-in excavation activities that could
potentially affect their underground facilities. The facility owner,
in turn, provides specific location information to the excavator
and marks the underground facility with above-ground APWA (American
Public Works Association) color-coded markings.
No digging should occur until a “One Call” center is
contacted. Each state has a minimum waiting time of two to three
days, or longer for large projects. When digging is very close to
the underground utility or pipeline, a company representative may
need to stay on site to inspect the activity and protect the underground
With the support of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s
Office of Pipeline Safety, the DIG SAFELY message is being promoted
broadly. In addition, an implementation manual has been published,
and hardware stores and equipment rental outlets are currently displaying
the DIG SAFELY message.
Considerable success already has been realized. In recent years,
the number of pipeline incidents has decreased 40 percent and the
volume of oil released has decreased about 60 percent.
To learn more visit our One
Call Systems, DIG SAFELY, Common
Ground Alliance pages.