Risk Mitigation in the Pipeline Right of Way

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Risk Mitigation in the Pipeline Right of Way


Pipeline Safety is a Priority

Getting natural gas to the end use involves crossing a great deal of miles through wilderness, mountains, desert, communities, and many varieties of land and terrain.

For these reasons, safety is of utmost importance to any construction project. Our concern for the environment and life takes priority. Delivering a safe project, on time and within budget are all elements that fit hand in hand.

Cooperation with PIPA

Development in areas surrounding natural gas pipeline poses risks we mitigate by working closely with the municipalities, developers and Pipelines and Informed Planning Alliance (PIPA).

PIPA is sponsored by the US Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Office of Pipeline Safety. The goal of the alliance is to “reduce risk and improve the safety of affected communities” near and around existing transmission pipelines.

It is not only Snelson’s responsibility as the pipeline construction company and operator to maintain the safety but also that of the local governments, property owner and developers, and state real estate commissions to do so. For that reason, communication and guidelines are important.

Watch the video of a Snelson CAT 320 Excavator cleaning a Pipeline Right of Way.

Consultation and Planning Zone

The Consultation Zone is usually dictated by local municipal ordinances and is typically around 660 feet to either side of the natural gas pipeline centerline. This area defines where a property owner or developer who is planning a new development should get in touch with us, the natural gas pipeline operator.

This consultation zone will remain in place with the municipality who will issue safety information when a building permit within that zone is requested. The property developer will then be connected with us, the construction pipeline company and share type and size of building to ensure safety for all involved. The property owner will also be provided with recommended land management practices near natural gas transmission pipelines.

Often, a community might impose zoning restrictions including setbacks beyond the edge of the pipeline right of way. Every situation is unique, depending on the nature of the pipeline. (It could be large diameter, high pressure high volume through rural areas, or low diameter, low pressure closer to the end use, typically in more developed areas.)

If any excavation will happen within the planning and consultation zone, the developer will need to submit a request for an encroachment agreement prior to submitting the application for the building permit.

You can find everything here on PIPA’s Partnering to Further Enhance Pipeline Safety In Communities Through Risk-Informed Land Use Planning white paper.