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Pipeline Excavation, Location, Identification

Call before you Dig


The following four steps can prevent an interruption of service or a potentially hazardous situation:

1. Call 811 before you dig. Give two working days' notice before digging.

2. Wait. Don’t start your project until lines are marked.

3. Utility companies will mark the location of underground utility lines typically within 48 hours of your call.

4. Respect the utility markers (see chart below) and dig carefully. Immediately report and dents, scratches or damage to any pipelines or utilities.

The 811 service will connect you with the state one call center, which will alert participating utility companies such as electric, gas, cable and phone about the planned digging so they can mark the appropriate location of their underground lines if necessary. Remember, you are responsible for marking your private lines such as invisible pet fences, sprinkler systems, yard lights and gas grill lines. 

Local utilities will then come to your home or work site and mark the location of their underground lines using the following color codes:

Utilities Location & Coordination Council Uniform Color Code

   WHITE - Proposed Excavation
 PINK - Temporary  Survey Markings
spacer gif  RED - Electric Power Lines, Cables, Conduit and Lighting Cables.
spacer gif  YELLOW - Gas, Oil, Steam, Petroleum or Gaseous Materials.
spacer gif  ORANGE - Communications, Alarm or Signal Lines, Cables or Conduit.
spacer gif  BLUE - Water, Irrigation and Slurry Lines.
 PURPLE - Reclaimed  Water, irrigation and Slurry Lines
spacer gif  GREEN - Sewers and Drain Lines.

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. It is a federal crime to damage, remove or destroy a pipeline marker. 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. You may obtain access to view maps of CenterPoint Energy’s transmission pipeline facilities by visiting 

Marker Information 

Pipeline graphic

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.

Educational Information for Kids:

 CGA Kids Pipeline Location Video 811 Video for Kids

Excavation around Pipelines

If you have a pipeline easement on your property, protect the pipeline by knowing the details of your easement agreement and avoiding activities that could endanger underground lines, such as planting trees or shrubs or placing buildings or structures on the right-of-way. 811 is a free, national service created to help protect home and business owners from unintentionally damaging underground utility lines while digging. One Call coordinates with pipeline companies to mark the location of underground lines before you dig. Operators will mark the location of pipelines with marker flags or colored paint. Pipelines are marked with yellow flags. Other underground utility lines will be marked with different color flags. View the color code chart above to know about marker flag colors and the lines they represent. Respect the marks and dig carefully. Talk with the pipeline operator if you have questions about safe digging near pipelines. If you nick, ding or damage a pipeline while digging, call the operator immediately so that they can come inspect and repair any damage to prevent future problems.

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.

 What is in a CenterPoint pipeline?

  • Pipelines carry gaseous 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.


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 quick links on the left.

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