Important Safety Guidelines 2024

Sponsored by
Pennsylvania One Call System, Inc., Your Local Gas Distribution and Pipeline Companies


Safety & Education

  • PA Act 287 as amended requires excavators as well as private land owners to call POCS three business days before any kind of digging occurs with powered equipment
  • Mark your proposed excavation area with white paint or flags before calling with a dig notification
  • By calling you allow the facility owners an opportunity to locate and mark their underground facilities in advance of the planned excavation (gas and liquid pipelines will mark underground facility lines using yellow stakes, flags or paint)
  • Protect and preserve markings until they are no longer required for a safe and proper excavation 
  • Pipeline operators may monitor the excavation to prevent accidents and detect potentially hazardous situations
  • No construction or excavation activities of any kind, including blasting, drilling, boring vibration or operating vibrating equipment are to be done on any pipeline easement area before the pipeline operator has established the location of all affected facilities and the limits of the easements
  • Because of the critical nature of liquid pipelines and high pressure natural gas, facility owners may want to be on site when construction or excavation activities are near the lines
  • When crossing a pipeline with heavy equipment during construction, you may be required to use protective materials that are approved by individual pipeline companies 
    • When construction is completed, the additional protection must be removed
  • Please consult with the facility owner or line operator when backfilling, which also includes areas of washout and erosion
  • Contact your local pipeline operator for information on high-consequence areas and integrity management programs; for more information, see the individual pipeline company websites

Prevent Damage 

  • Pipeline markers display the material transported, the name of the pipeline operator and the operator’s emergency number.
  • Pipeline markers show approximate location of pipelines and do not reveal the exact location, depth or pressure of the pipeline
  • Easements are written agreements between pipeline companies and landowners, which permit pipeline companies to operate and maintain the pipeline through the landowner’s property. When purchasing property or beginning construction, it is essential to research existing easements
  • Easements must be kept clear and nothing can be built over the pipeline
  • Many pipelines were built in unpopulated areas that are now developed. Accidents occur when excavators encroach on the rights of way through construction

Excavation and design projects should always begin with notification to the state’s one call system as required by the PA UULP Law. Three Business Days Notice is Required.

Emergency Actions  

If a gas or petroleum line is hit or damaged and is leaking:

  • Stop all digging and leave the equipment in place
  • Evacuate the work area and adjacent structures
  • Remain upwind at a safe distance, 500 feet or more
  • Under PA law, you must dial 9-1-1 or the local fire department
  • Call the appropriate gas or petroleum company immediately from a safe distance (refer to the emergency numbers)
  • Eliminate potential ignition sources, i.e., open flames, smoking materials, the starting or operating of motor vehicles, the use of phones, radios, doorbells, electric switches, flashlights, etc.
  • Do not try to extinguish a fire unless there is a direct threat to life
  • Do not operate any pipeline valves
  • Cordon off the excavation area, keeping a minimum safe distance of 500 feet 
    • Do not attempt to stop the escape of gas by covering the leak with dirt
  • Any damage to a line must be reported to the facility owner by law, and it is unlawful to cover up a line that may be damaged

If a gas or petroleum line is hit or exposed without apparent damage or leakage:

  • Call the appropriate gas or petroleum company immediately from a safe distance (refer to the emergency numbers)
  • Stop excavation activity until the facility owner clears you to proceed
  • Special Note: If you hit a line and there is no apparent leak at that location, it is still possible that there could be secondary damage away from the site, resulting in a leak
    • In addition some pipelines have sensitive coatings that even when scraped or nicked may create holes; damage to a line may not be readily apparent when a line is exposed or hit
  • Reporting all damages, even minor nicks and gouges is required by PA law; minor nicks, gouges, or scrapes can and have been the cause of future failures 
    • Some companies have policies in place to repair minor nicks, gouges and scrapes free of charge

Call Before You Dig

  • Statistics indicate that damage from excavation related activities is a leading cause of pipeline accidents; if you are a homeowner, farmer, excavator, or developer, we need your help in preventing pipeline emergencies
  • Call Pennsylvania One Call System, Inc. (POCS) at least three business days before you dig at 8-1-1 or 800-242-1776
  • It is your responsibility under the law to provide exact and specific work site information
  • Pennsylvania One Call System, Inc. does not locate underground facility lines
  • POCS automated response system will notify you of the member facility owner’s status on your dig notification at the end of the second business day for routine notifications and 2 hours for emergency notifications
  • Maintain a safe clearance between any subsurface facility and the cutting edge or point of powered equipment; the law requires use of prudent techniques inside 18” of the outside edge of an underground facility
  • Marking indicates only the approximate location of buried lines; after obtaining facility owner’s permission, hand dig test holes in a careful and prudent manner to determine the precise location of underground facility lines 
    • Upon hand digging, if you are still unable to determine the exact location of the lines, call POCS or the facility owner for assistance prior to any excavation
  • If you must expose a line, the state law requires you to protect and support the underground facility line while working on the site; ask the facility owner’s locator for help and advice when you are near underground lines
  • The excavator must renotify POCS for new markings if the facility owner markings are destroyed or removed before excavation commences
  • The excavator must also renotify POCS if the job is delayed more than 10 business days from the original start date

Sponsors & Emergency Numbers 

Adelphia Gateway, LLC800-747-3375
Buckeye Partners, L.P.800-331-4115
Chambersburg Gas Department717-263-4111
Chartiers Natural Gas Company, Inc.724-745-6342
Chesapeake Energy405-935-7500
CNX Midstream Partners844-700-2663
CNX Resources Corporation800-583-3755
Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Inc.888-460-4332
Delaware Pipeline Company855-887-9768
Eastern Gas Transmission and Storage, Inc.888-264-8240
Eastern Shore Natural Gas877-650-1257
Enbridge/Texas Eastern800-231-7794
Energy Transfer/Sunoco800-777-6444
Enterprise Products888-883-6308
Equitrans Midstream855-740-1092
Keystone Cooperative Association888-784-6160
Kinder Morgan800-231-2800
Knox Energy Cooperative Association888-784-6160
National Fuel Gas800-444-3130
Paulsboro Natural Gas Pipeline Company877-662-4575
PECO, An Exelon Company800-841-4141
Peoples Natural Gas800-400-4271
Philadelphia Gas Works215-235-1212
SW Gathering877-879-0376
TC Energy800-835-7191
Transcontinental Gas Pipeline800-440-8475
UGI Utilities, Inc.800-276-2722
United States Gypsum Company877-258-2901
United States Steel Corporation800-992-2262

 Additional Resources are available on the following websites: