Most pipelines are underground, where they are more protected from the elements and minimize interference with surface uses. Even so, pipeline rights of way are clearly identified by pipeline markers along pipeline routes that identify the approximate – NOT EXACT – location of the pipeline.
Every pipeline marker contains information identifying the company that operates the pipeline, the product transported and a phone number to call in the event of an emergency. Markers do not indicate pipeline burial depth, which will vary. Markers are typically seen where a pipeline intersects a street, highway or railway.
The types of pipeline markers include:
- Standard Pipeline Markers – The most common type, each contains operator information, type of product and an emergency contact number. Size, shape and color may vary.
- Aerial Markers – These skyward facing markers are used by patrol planes that monitor pipeline routes.
- Casing Vent Markers – These markers indicate that a pipeline protected by a steel outer casing passes beneath a nearby roadway, rail line or other crossing.
NOTE: Willfully defacing, damaging, removing or destroying any pipeline marker is a federal crime.
Transmission Pipeline Mapping
The National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) provides information about liquid transmission operators and their pipelines. The NPMS website is searchable by ZIP code or by county and state, and can display a county map that is printable.
For a list of pipeline operators with pipelines in your area, and contact information, visit www.npms.phmsa.dot.gov.
NOTE: Operators of production facilities, liquid gathering piping and distribution piping are not represented by NPMS, nor are they required to be.