​​​​​​​​Pipeline Safety


​​​Our Commitment to Your Safety

CenterPoint Energy is committed to the safe and reliable operation of its transmission pipelines and distribution system in your community. If you live or work near a pipeline, the following is some basic information you should know.

​Did you know that most of us live and work near natural gas pipelines that deliver fuel to homes and businesses? Being aware of pipeline locations, identifying them and taking safety precautions before you dig can help prevent potentially dangerous situations. 

America's pipeline network is used every day to transport products such as natural gas to homes, businesses and industrial facilities. The following information is designed to help the public, as well as officials and public officials how to live and work safely near natural gas pipelines. 

What is in a CenterPoint Energy 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 a​ir 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.

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:
  • material transported in the line
  • name of the pipeline operator
  • telephone number where the operator can be reached in the event of an emergency.

pipeline markers, aerial markers, casing vent markers  

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.

You may obtain access to view maps of CenterPoint Energy's transmission pipeline facilities by visiting https://www.npms.phmsa.dot.gov/​.

​​​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.

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.
  • 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.                   

Know the Signs of a Pipeline Leak​

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​​Look for signs of a possible leak

Persistent bubbling in standing water 

Pool of liquid on the ground 

Discolored or dead vegetation around the pipeline area 

Dense white cloud or fog 

Slight mist of ice 

Unexplained frozen ground near the pipeline

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Listen for any unusual noise 

​Whistling, hissing or roaring sound ​

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An unusual smell, petroleum odor or gaseous odor 

Distinctive, strong odor, often compared to rotten eggs or sulfur if odorant is added

For additional information on Pipeline Safety and other Public Awareness initiatives please visit our Public Awareness web page.         

Customer-Owned Service Lines

Any buried gas piping - in other words, piping that is in direct contact with soil - that runs from the gas meter to the structure(s) or gas utilization equipment is the property owner's responsibility to maintain. Gas utilization equipment includes items such as yard lights, natural gas pool heaters and natural gas grills.

Why is it important to maintain buried piping?

If your pipes aren't inspected periodically, they could become dangerous due to corrosion or leaking. It's important to repair any unsafe conditions found during inspections as quickly as possible. If you're wondering who to contact for piping inspection and maintenance, plumbing contractors are a great resource. Metallic piping should be inspected for corrosion by a licensed and bonded professional only.