Skip to Site Navigation | Skip to Content

Pipeline Safety

Recognize a Pipeline Leak by Sight, Sound, Smell

LOOK - A pool of liquid on the ground, a white cloud or fog, or discolored vegetation are signs of a possible leak around the pipeline area.

LISTEN - Listen for any unusual noise like a hissing or roaring sound.

SMELL - Notice any unusual odor.

If You Suspect a Pipeline Leak

  • Leave the area quickly moving upwind or crosswind from the leak as much as possible
  • Warn others
  • Call 911
  • Notify the pipeline operator immediately
  • DO NOT come into direct contact with any escaping liquids
  • DO NOT attempt to operate any pipeline valves yourself. You may inadvertently route more product to the leak or cause a secondary incident
  • DO NOT cause any open flame or other potential source of ignition such as an electrical switch, vehicle ignition, light a match, etc. Do not start motor vehicles or electrical equipment
  • DO NOT use telephone or cell phone
  • DO NOT ring doorbells to notify others of the leak. Knock with your hand to avoid a potential spark from metal knockers
  • DO NOT drive into a leak while leaving the area
  • DO NOT attempt to extinguish a fire. Wait for local firemen and other emergency professionals trained to deal with such emergencies

FAQ - About Pipelines in Your Community

How can I tell where a pipeline is located?

(The most reliable way to know if and/or where pipelines are located is by dialing 811 and request a pipeline locate for the area in question.)

You may also look for these signs:

  • Pipeline markers located near roads, railroads and along pipeline right-of-ways
  • Pipeline casing vent
  • Painted metal or plastic posts
  • NOTE: Emergency phone numbers on signs

Since pipelines are buried under ground, line markers are used to indicate their approximate location along the route. The markers can be found where a pipeline intersects a street, highway or railway. The markers 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.

Are pipeline markers always placed on top of the pipeline?

Markers indicate the general location of a pipeline. They cannot be relied upon to indicate exact position of the pipeline they mark. Also, the pipeline may not follow a straight course between markers. And, while markers are helpful in locating pipelines, they are limited in the information they provide. They provide no information, for example, on the depth or number of pipelines in the vicinity.

What do pipelines contain?

BKEP pipelines carry hazardous liquids that are highly flammable, any pipeline leak is potentially dangerous.

What actions should be taken by public safety officials?

If you are a public safety official, take whatever steps you deem necessary to safeguard the public in the event of a pipeline emergency. The following suggestions are offered as a guide:

  • Secure the area around the leak to a safe distance. This could include the evac­uation of people from homes, businesses, schools, and other locations, as well as the erection of barricades to control access to the emergency site and similar precautions.
  • If the pipeline leak is not burning, take steps to prevent ignition. This could include prohibiting smoking, rerouting traffic, and shutting off the electricity and gas supply.
  • If the pipeline leak is burning, try to prevent the spread of fire but do not attempt to extinguish it. Burning petroleum products will not explode. If the fire is extinguished, gas or vapor will collect and could explode when reignited by secondary fires.

Contact the pipeline company as quickly as possible. Pipeline marker signs show the pipeline company's name, emergency telephone number, and pipeline contents.