Pipeline Safety

Pipelines are the most reliable, and frequently used, method of transporting energy resources in the country. There are three primary types of pipelines used to transport natural gas, oil, refined products and other hazardous liquids:

  • Gathering pipelines: Collect oil and natural gas from production areas and transport the resources to refining centers and larger pipelines.
  • Transmission pipelines: Transport larger quantities of raw, refined or processed products over longer distances to distribution centers, storage facilities or end-users like large industrial customers.
  • Distribution Pipelines: Move natural gas from city gates to homes and businesses to provide heat and the fuel needed to heat water and cook food.

Pipelines are usually buried and can be located almost anywhere- across farm land, along roads, under city streets and even through neighborhoods. Most pipelines are marked with pipeline signs that provide the name of the pipeline operator, the number to call in the event of an emergency and the product being transported. Markers are used to designate the general route of a pipeline and can be found at road, railroad and water crossings.

The National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) is a web-based geographic information platform that assists in location of hazardous liquid and gas transmission pipelines in the United States. It also provides emergency contact information for transmission pipeline operators. Emergency responders and public officials can request secure access to the site, which offers more detailed information. To access the NPMS and view pipelines in your community visit www.npms.phmsa.dot.gov