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 and distribution system in your community. 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 with routine inspections, corrosion protection, maintenance and testing programs, employee training and public education. If you live or work near a pipeline, there's some basic information you should know.
For more information on natural gas safety, tour our natural gas safety section by navigating through the links on the left or the related links on the right.
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.
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.
CLOGGED SEWER? CONTACT CENTERPOINT ENERGY TO DETERMINE IF A NATURAL GAS LINE IS INVOLVED.
Safety is CenterPoint Energy’s top priority. While incidents involving damage to natural gas pipelines are rare, to protect life and property, CenterPoint Energy takes a proactive approach to help prevent any potential incident or natural gas leak.
Although it is an unusual situation, there may be a few instances a year where a sewer blockage occurs as a result of a contractor’s excavation activities during construction – resulting in potential hazards associated with natural gas and sewer lines intersecting underground.
However, CenterPoint Energy is resolved to take action to remedy a situation upon notification to prevent an accident from occurring.
- If your sewer does back-up, CenterPoint Energy warns customers and plumbing contractors against trying to drill through a blockage. Contact CenterPoint Energy so we can locate underground natural gas facilities to help prevent potential damage to the lines and a natural gas leak.
- If you have concerns about whether your natural gas line has crossed your sewer line, contact a qualified professional plumber or contractor. A professional plumber can perform a sewer line inspection with a camera that will inspect the inside of a sewer pipe.
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/7 days a week.
Sewer contractors, customers or plumbers can call 1-855-820-0127 for assistance.
Contacting CenterPoint Energy with concerns about any of its natural gas facilities helps ensure the safety of our customers and the public.
It is important that customers and contractors have the location of underground utilities marked by calling Gopher State One Call at 811 – at no cost – before beginning any excavation or project that might involve underground utilities or pipelines. Minnesota law requires customers to call Gopher State One Call at 811 at least 48 hours, or two working days, before digging. Customers may also request an E-Ticket at gopherstateonecall.org.
Underground utilities are not limited to natural gas. 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. Do not assume someone else has already called. The odor will be investigated at no charge.
Emergency gas leak telephone numbers
Twin Cities metropolitan area: ....................... 612-372-5050
Other areas: ..................................................1-800-296-9815
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.