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Story Archives: Prevention key in pipeline safety
|Prevention key in pipeline safety|
If you live in Northeast Louisiana, you live near a pipeline. That's the message David Young, director of The Pipeline Group consulting service, delivered during a recent safety seminar held at the Monroe Civic Center.
"The purpose of our company is to bring public awareness regarding pipeline safety, especially in areas where there's a high concentration of lines in service," said Young. "We are contracted by pipeline companies to facilitate a trust between the company and the public."
Young presented a Power Point presentation to some two hundred participants. He informed the crowd that the "call before you dig" campaign is no longer a suggestion for personal safety, but a federal law.
"After every pipeline incident, safety regulations get more strict," said Young, "and when there's an incident, a committee is formed and the liability is investigated."
What does this mean to the average landowner? It means you must dial 811 before digging a post hole, planting a tree or any kind of excavation on your property, it's the law. Disturbing the earth around these lines, which often lie at an unknown depth, could result in a nick or gash in the pipe that would cause corrosion and eventual eruption at a later time. Always keeping safety in mind, pipelines are far too dangerous to make assumptions when a mistake is usually fatal. If the damaged line can be traced back to a person who did not notify the call center before excavating, that person, should he still be alive, would be held liable for the damages.
Young also informed the audience on how to spot indicators of pipeline breaks and releases and how to recognize a pipeline emergency.
"It's very important for local firefighters to be trained for pipeline emergencies. It's not a flame that can be put out with water," said Young.
In the event of a pipeline emergency, Young advises to evacuate the area, call 911, then the pipeline operator to shut the system down. If you smell gas in a building, do not try to locate the leak. Young once again advises to leave the area, call 911 and the gas company. Always assume the gas / air mixture is explosive and be cautious of ignition sources. The basic idea behind damage response is life first, environment second.
Louisiana One Call representative David Fry said the call center receives an average of 20,000 calls on a daily basis.
"Any movement of earth, even if you're just working around the house could result in damage to a line," said Fry. "Louisiana is unique in that it has twice as many pipelines as other states buried beneath the ground. There are approximately 87,000 miles of pipeline running through Louisiana. It's important to call first."
The number for the Louisiana One Call center is 811.