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EH&S


Our first priority at Western Gas is to operate safely and responsibly.

Our commitment to community and safety

Our first priority at Western Gas is to operate safely and responsibly. One of the many ways we do this is by maintaining high standards of pipeline integrity for the pipelines that we own. We are committed to ensuring that you, your public officials and the appropriate emergency response agencies have sufficient and accurate information to respond appropriately.

 About gas pipelines

Natural gas provides about 24 percent of all the energy used in the United States and gas utilities serve more than 60 million customers. Because Americans consume more than 700 million gallons of petroleum products per day, pipelines are an essential component of our nation's infrastructure.

Most pipelines transporting petroleum and energy products are made of steel, often covered with protective coating, and buried underground. Most fall under the jurisdiction of federal regulations and are subsequently tested and maintained using cleaning devices, diagnostic tools and devices pursuant to these Department of Transportation regulations. Pipelines that transport petroleum products to more than one state are required by federal regulation to have an integrity management plan. You may contact us directly for more information about our pipelines. 

Recognizing a pipeline leak

We regularly inspect our rights-of-way using air, foot and vehicle patrols. Our trained inspectors look for activities near our pipelines, such as construction and excavation, and ensure the security and integrity of our pipelines. We communicate regularly with emergency officials, local police and fire departments and have detailed coordination plans in place for emergencies.

If you are not aware of pipelines on or near your property, check for pipeline markers posted on your property, along your property and elsewhere in your neighborhood. You may also check your property record at your County Clerk's office.

Our hope is to continue to be a good neighbor and provide you with information to help you remain safe near pipelines in your area. Read our guidelines that will provide you with important information if you suspect a problem.

Warning signs of a pipeline leak

Any one of these events may indicate a leak:

  • A pool of liquid on the ground near a pipeline
  • A dense white cloud or fog over a pipeline
  • Discolored vegetation surrounding the pipeline
  • An unusual dry spot in an otherwise moist field
  • Bubbling in marshland, rivers or creeks
  • An oily sheen appearing on water surfaces
  • An unusual noise coming from the pipeline, such as a hissing or roaring sound
  • An unusual smell or gaseous odor
  • Frozen ground at the pipeline in warm weather
  • Dirt blowing up from the ground

What to do if a pipeline is damaged or disturbed

All damage or suspected damage - even if it appears to be only minor - should be reported immediately to the pipeline company.

Many states have laws requiring damages to be reported to the facility owner and/or the One-Call Center by dialing 811. Do not attempt to make the repairs to the line yourself.

If a line is ruptured or leaking, get as far away as possible and call 911. Contact the pipeline company as quickly as possible. Pipeline marker signs show the pipeline company's name, emergency telephone number, and pipeline contents.

Actions to take

Your primary concern should be for your personal safety and the safety of those around you. If you see, smell or hear any of the warning signs of a pipeline leak, please immediately do the following:

  1. Put out cigarettes or other lighted material (turn off any flame or ignition source, including running vehicles or engines).
  2. Leave the area immediately on foot and warn others to stay away.
  3. From a safe distance, call 911 or your local emergency number.
  4. If there's a Pipeline Marker Sign nearby, from a safe distance call the Pipeline Company at the number shown. Give your name, phone number and a description of the leak and its location.

Avoid the following: 

  1. Do not touch or go near any liquid or gas cloud that you think may have come from a pipeline leak.
  2. Do not create sparks, light a match, start an engine or your vehicle, use a telephone (including cell phones) or switch on/off an electric light near a spill area.
  3. Do not attempt to stop the leak by operating pipeline equipment.
  4. Do not drive a vehicle into a leak area or vapor-clouded area.

Look for markers

For your safety, markers show the approximate location of pipelines and identify the companies that operate them. Markers may be anywhere along the right-of-way or directly over the pipeline. The pipeline may not follow a straight course between markers.

While markers are helpful in locating pipelines, markers are limited in the information they provide. Markers provide no information, for example, on the depth or the number of pipelines in the right-of-way. Markers may commonly be found where a pipeline intersects a street, highway or railway. These markers indicate the material transported in the pipeline, the name of the pipeline operator and a telephone number where the pipeline operator can be reached in an emergency.

You should be aware of any pipeline markers on your property or in your neighborhood and, if possible, write down the name and phone numbers appearing on the pipeline markers in case of an emergency.

Pipeline markers are important for the safety of the general public. It is a federal crime for any person to willfully deface, damage, remove or destroy any pipeline sign or right-of-way marker.

Our hope is to continue to be a good neighbor and provide you with information to help you remain safe near pipelines in your area. These safety guidelines will provide you with important information if you suspect a problem.

Call before you dig! 811

Before you dig or excavate, contact the One-Call Center by simply dialing 811 from anywhere in the United States. You may also need to contact companies that may not be a member of the One-Call Center, such as local water districts.

Please call before you start any project, whether landscaping, building fences or a major construction project. Pipeline companies and other utilities will mark the location of their lines at no cost to you. Pipeline and utility markers may not show the exact location of buried lines. Failure to call before excavation is the leading cause of damages to buried pipelines.

Pipeline operator's actions during an emergency

Although accidents are rare, if one does occur, the pipeline operator will immediately dispatch personnel to the site to help handle the emergency and to provide information to public safety officials to aid in their response to the emergency. Pipeline technicians will also take the necessary operating actions such as starting and stopping pumps or compressors, closing and opening valves and similar steps to minimize the impact of the situation.

Building or digging on a right-of-way

Pipeline rights-of-way must be kept free from structures and other obstructions to provide access to the pipeline for maintenance and emergencies. If a pipeline crosses your property, please do not plant trees or large shrubs on the right-of-way. Do not dig, build, store or place anything on or near the rights-of-way without first having the pipeline company's personnel mark the pipeline or stake the rights-of-way and explain construction and easement requirements to you.

We need your help

The nation's infrastructures, including pipelines, are a matter of National Security. If you witness a suspicious activity on a pipeline right-of-way, please report it to the appropriate authorities as soon as possible, or you may call the pipeline operator's numbers found on the pipeline marker. Threat advisories may be found at the Department of Homeland Security's website http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic.

Visit http://www.pipeline101.com, an industry website that provides additional educational information about pipelines.