Recognize a Pipeline Leak by Sight, Sound, Smell
LOOK – Look for a pool of liquid on the ground, a white cloud or fog or discolored vegetation, which 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, a lit 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 placing a pipeline locate request for the area in question.
You may also look for the following:
- Pipeline markers located near roads, railroads and along pipeline right-of-ways
- Pipeline casing vents
- Painted metal or plastic posts
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 railroad. 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 the exact position of the pipeline they mark. Also, the pipeline may not follow a straight course between markers. 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?
Blueknight pipelines carry hazardous liquids that are highly flammable. A 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 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.