CenterPoint Energy

Natural Gas > Business

Pipeline Safety
Facts you should know

Pipeline Purpose & Reliability

America's pipeline network is used every day to transport products such as natural gas to homes, businesses and industrial facilities. According to National Transportation Safety Board statistics, pipelines are the safest and most economical method of transporting products. Our educational outreach teaches excavating contractors, emergency officials, public officials and the public how to live and work safely near natural gas pipelines.

Our Commitment to Your Safety

CenterPoint Energy is committed to the safe and reliable operation of its pipelines in the communities we serve. We monitor the operations of our pipelines which are designed, installed, tested, operated and maintained in accordance with all applicable Federal and State requirements. We maintain our safety record through routine inspections, corrosion protection, maintenance and testing programs, employee training and public education. Public education includes educational outreach with excavating contractors, emergency response officials, appropriate public officials, and the affected public.

For more information on natural gas safety, please visit the links on the left.

How can you tell where a pipeline is located?

Since most pipelines are buried underground, pipeline markers are used to indicate their approximate location along the route. They cannot be relied upon to indicate the exact position of the pipeline. 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.

Local distribution pipelines are not typically identified with pipeline markers. A call to 811 will help identify the location of these pipelines.

 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.

Pipeline Marker - This marker is the most commonly seen. It contains operator information, type of product, and an emergency contact number.

Aerial Marker - These skyway facing markers are used by patrol planes that monitor pipeline ROW.

Casing Vent Marker - This marker indicates that a pipeline (protected by a steel outer casing) pases beneath a nearby roadway, rail line or other crossing. Sometimes overflow of product may be seen.

What is in a pipeline?

  • Pipelines carry both gaseous and liquid materials under high pressure.
  • Many pipelines contain colorless and odorless products.
  • Many liquids form gaseous vapor clouds when released into the air.
  • Some gases are lighter than air and will rise.
  • Other heavier-than-air gases and liquids will stay near the ground and collect in low spots.
  • All petroleum gases and liquids are flammable.
  • Any pipeline leak can be potentially dangerous.

 Underground utility line information

Safety is our top priority. Incidents involving damage to natural gas pipelines are rare and CenterPoint Energy takes a proactive approach to prevent any potential incident or natural gas leakage to protect life and property. Although it is an unusual situation, the company is aware of a few instances per year where a sewer blockage occurs as a result of a contractor’s excavation activities during construction – resulting in unintended installation of a gas line in a sewer line. However, CenterPoint Energy is resolved to take action to remedy a situation upon notification to prevent an accident from occurring. If a customer experiences a sewer back-up, CenterPoint Energy doesn’t want customers or plumbing contractors to drill through a blockage for any reason without first allowing CenterPoint Energy to locate its underground natural gas facilities to help determine and prevent potential damage to the natural gas lines that could result in leakage. If the qualified contractor discovers an issue with any CenterPoint Energy natural gas piping, the company will work closely with that professional to resolve the issue. This is for the safety of our customers and the public.

It is important that customers and contractors also know to call 811, at no cost to the customer, prior to any excavation or projects that might involve underground utilities or pipelines, to have them marked. State law requires customers to call 811, the call before you dig number, or your local One Call Center at least 48 hours, or two working days, before digging. Continued on back Underground utilities are not limited to natural gas facilities. Customers are also responsible for marking private lines such as invisible pet fences, sprinkler systems, yard lights, sewer and water lines and gas grill lines.

If you do suspect a gas leak, please immediately call the emergency gas leak telephone numbers below from a safe distance and do not assume someone else has already called. The odor will be investigated at no charge.

Emergency gas leak telephone number


If you have concerns about your natural gas line and sewer line being conjoined, contact a qualified professional plumber or contractor. 

A professional plumber can perform a sewer line inspection with a camera that will visually inspect the inside of the sewer pipe that runs from your home. If the qualified contractor discovers an issue with any CenterPoint Energy natural gas piping, the company will work closely with that professional to resolve the issue. We have notified sewer contractors and plumbers that they should call CenterPoint Energy if they need assistance. We have qualified personnel who are available to assist them 24 hours/7days a week.

Excess flow valves

Excess flow valves are optional devices that can be installed on your home’s natural gas service line. They are designed to completely shut off or significantly reduce the flow of natural gas if a natural gas service line becomes damaged.

Pipeline Access & Security

Pipeline right-of-ways must be kept free from structures and other obstructions to provide access to the pipeline for maintenance and in the event of an emergency. If a pipeline crosses your property, please do not plant trees or high shrubs on the right-of-way. Do not dig, build, store or place anything on or near the right-of-ways without first having the pipeline marked and the right-of-ways staked.

Additionally, if you witness suspicious activity on a pipeline right-of-way, please report it to the authorities, or call your local CenterPoint Energy emergency number.

National Pipeline Mapping System

To view and download maps of transmission pipelines in your county, see the National Pipeline Mapping System website, an online mapping program managed by the federal government.

 Related Site

811 is the new number you should call before you begin any digging project. Learn More About 811...

Impersonator safety tips from CenterPoint Energy Click to learn more ยป