Safety in Skagit County
| Underground and aboveground pipelines carry natural gas or other
hazardous liquids across and throughout our county. While these
pipelines are essential to safely providing our homes and businesses
with fuel, damaging one of them could result in serious harm to
the environment or human life.
Pipelines can be divided into two types: large transmission pipelines
that carry fuels across the county, and smaller distribution pipelines
that deliver fuel directly to your home or business.
- State law requires you to call 811 before you dig for
almost any home improvement project to avoid damaging buried
utilities, including pipelines.
- Skagit County has adopted rules
that you must follow when applying for permits or land divisions
within 100 feet of transmission pipelines.
near Distribution Pipelines
CALL 811 BEFORE YOU DIG!
Distribution pipelines are all around us. Are
you planning to dig? Doing a home-improvement project? Planting
a tree? Installing a fence or a deck? CALL
811 BEFORE YOU DIG!
It's the law.
Whether you are planning to do it yourself or hire a professional,
smart digging means calling 811 before each job. Homeowners often
make risky assumptions about whether or not they should get their
utility lines marked, but every digging job requires a call-even
small projects like planting trees and shrubs. The depth of utility
lines varies and there may be multiple utility lines in a common
area. If you hit an underground utility line while digging, you
can harm yourself or those around you, disrupt service to an entire
neighborhood, and potentially be responsible for fines and repair
The "Call Before You Dig" program provides a national
phone number to help protect you from unintentionally hitting
underground utility lines while working on digging projects. Calling
before you dig is required by state law. See RCW
YOU SMELL NATURAL GAS?
|If you smell natural gas and suspect a small
natural gas leak in your home, take the following steps:
24-hour emergency contact number for
Washington and Oregon: 1-888-522-1130
- Evacuate everyone.
- Do not operate any electrical switches. Sparking could
ignite the gas.
- Do not light matches.
- Turn off the gas valve located at the gas meter with a
wrench or other suitable tool.
- If the leaking gas ignites, do not try to put out the flames.
Call the fire department at 911.
- From a phone outside your home and away from the
gas leak, call Cascade Natural Gas from the toll-free emergency
number. Do NOT use the phone in your house! Even tiny
sparks can ignite gas vapors.
near Transmission Pipelines
DO I LIVE NEAR A TRANSMISSION
Four transmission pipelines cross Skagit
County carrying natural gas or other hazardous liquids.
To see if a transmission pipeline runs through your property,
use our iMap program.
1. Click here to open
in a new window.
2. In the upper right corner, choose "View Layers."
3. In the upper right hand corner, under "Select
View," choose "Transmission Pipelines."
4. On the left side, click to search by address (or another
method) to find your property.
Underground pipelines are everywhere. More than two million miles
of pipelines crisscross the United States safely transporting
natural gas, gasoline and other products every day. Understanding
where pipelines are located, potential hazards, and how to identify
and respond to a potential leak will keep your family, employees,
and community safe.
If you're within 100 feet of a transmission pipeline
in unincorporated Skagit County, SCC
requires you to consult with the pipeline operator
before the County can issue you a building permit or approve a
land division. Consultation
Early consultation is recommended by the Pipelines
and Informed Planning Alliance November 2010 Final Report
sponsored by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's
Office of Pipeline Safety, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The report recommends local governments require early consultation
between property developers and pipeline operators, before a project
is approved, to "avoid situations where transmission pipeline
operators learn of proposed land use and development projects
only after the design is complete or construction begins. In those
situations, it is often difficult or impossible to make cost-effective
changes that may be needed to enhance public safety and ensure
operator access to the pipeline facilities.
After you submit a complete application to the County planning
department, the County will e-mail your application to any nearby
pipeline operator and request consultation. The pipeline operator
will respond directly to you, with a CC to the County.
WHAT DO PIPELINE MARKERS
Being able to recognize a pipeline marker is very
important. Below are some examples of what a pipeline marker may
look like in your area.
RESOURCES FOR LANDOWNERS
Call Before You Dig
Transmission pipeline companies in Skagit County
What are pipelines? Where are they? And why do we need them
in the first place?
The energy transportation network of the United States consists
of over 2.5 million miles of pipelines. That's enough to circle
the earth about 100 times. These pipelines are operated by approximately
3,000 companies, large and small.
Based on data generated from annual reports to PHMSA from pipeline
operators, the network includes approximately:
175,000 miles of onshore and offshore hazardous
321,000 miles of onshore and offshore gas
and Gathering pipelines
2,066,000 miles of natural
mains and service pipelines
114 active LNG
connected to our natural gas transmission and distribution
Propane Distribution System pipelines
Although pipelines exist in all fifty states, most of us are unaware
that this vast network even exists. This is due to the strong
safety record of pipelines and the fact that most are located
underground. Installing pipelines underground protects them from
damage and helps protect our communities as well.
Most hazardous liquid and gas pipelines are buried
underground. To ensure your safety and avoid damaging underground
lines, you must call your state One-Call center before digging.
Before you Dig!
Most hazardous liquid and natural gas transmission
pipelines are located underground in rights-of-way (ROW). A
ROW consists of consecutive property easements acquired by,
or granted to, the pipeline company. The ROW provides sufficient
space to perform pipeline maintenance and inspections, as well
as a clear zone where encroachments can be monitored and prevented.
Pipeline operators are required to post brightly-colored markers
along their ROW to indicate the presence of - but not necessarily
the exact location of - their underground pipelines.
Markers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They contain
information about the nearby pipeline as well as emergency contact
information for the company that operates it. Pipeline
Natural gas distribution systems consist of distribution main
lines and service lines. Distribution main lines are generally
installed in underground utility easements alongside streets
and highways. Distribution service lines run from the distribution
main line into homes or businesses.
Distribution main and service lines are not generally indicated
by above-ground markers. To ensure safety and avoid damaging
underground lines, anyone planning to dig or excavate is required
by law to contact their state One-Call center 48 to 72 hours
before digging. Call
Before You Dig!
Pipelines play a vital role in our daily lives.
Cooking and cleaning, the daily commute, air travel and the
heating of homes and businesses are all made possible by the
readily available fuels delivered through pipelines. Click
here to see a list of products transported through pipelines.
These routine activities really add up in terms
of energy use. Natural gas provides for 24% of our countrys
total energy consumption, and petroleum provides for another
Because such huge volumes of hazardous liquid
and natural gas must be transported, the only feasible way to
do so is through pipelines. Pipelines do not crowd our highways
and waterways as trucks and barges would, nor do they contribute
to traffic congestion or highway accidents.
Pipelines, in short, are practical and safe. Here
is more information about pipelines that you may find interesting:
Gas Pipeline Systems: From the wellhead to the consumer
Pipeline Systems: From the wellhead to the consumer
of gas and oil exploration
of gas and oil exploration
days of the oil industry
Natural gas is a colorless, odorless substance.
Because natural gas cannot be detected on its own, an odorant
is added to help consumers smell gas. These signs may also indicate
a natural gas leak: a hissing sound; dust, water or vegetation
blowing around pipeline; or discolored or dead vegetation around
If you encounter a problem trying to locate a
utility, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission
can assist you. You can have underground utilities located,
for FREE, by calling 811 or 800-424-5555. You will be asked
for the address where the work is taking place, a description
of the work being done, the area where the utility lines need
to be located, and the date the work will be taking place.
If your locate doesn't happen, is late, inadequate,
or inaccurate, please call the commission at 1-888-333-WUTC