Pennsylvania’s 93,500+ miles of underground pipelines safely and efficiently deliver the affordable energy that enable our comforts of home and make our modern way of life possible.
Pipelines are also the most environmentally-friendly, efficient and reliable mode of transporting energy products. Studies by the U.S. Department of Transportation show that pipelines surpass both rail and truck in overall safety. From fueling our vehicles and heating our homes, to providing the raw materials that make thousands of items we use every day, pipelines connect us to the energy we rely on.
This PA Pipeline Safety website is designed to provide facts and resources about pipeline safety and emergency response in Pennsylvania’s communities. Leaks from pipelines are unusual, but you should know what to do in the unlikely event one occurs.
To meet the pipeline industry's goal of reliable incident-free operation, pipeline operators invest substantial human and financial resources to protect the people, property and the environment near pipelines. Pipelines are regularly tested and maintained using cleaning devices, diagnostic tools and cathodic protection. Operators perform regular patrols, both on the ground and in the air, along pipeline routes to ensure the security and integrity of the lines. For the safety of companies' systems and for the people around it, pipeline operations are monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Pipelines are typically buried 3 – 4 feet underground along a cleared corridor of land called the right-of-way (ROW). The ROW may contain one or more pipelines, may vary in width, and will cross through public and private property. The ROW should be free of permanent structures and trees and be identified with a marker sign. Every marker contains the name of the pipeline operator, products transported and emergency contact information. Markers do not indicate the exact location or depth of the pipeline, and pipelines may not always follow a straight line between markers.
One of the greatest single challenges to safe pipeline operations is the accidental damage caused by excavation. In accordance with state and federal guidelines set forth by PHMSA, damage prevention programs have been established to prevent damage to pipelines from excavation activities. Laws vary by state, but most require a call to 811 between 48 to 72 hours before you plan to dig. Your local One-Call Center will let you know if there are any buried utilities in the area, and the utility companies will be notified to identify and clearly mark the location of their lines at no cost to you.