Pipelines… Your Quiet Neighbor
There are over 200,00 miles of petroleum pipeline and 300,00 miles of natural gas pipelines in the United States. According to the National Transportation Safety Board statistics, pipelines ae he safest method of transporting these products. Pipelines have a safety record unparalleled by any other mode of transporting energy products. When these products are transported by other methods, a greater risk to the environment and the general public exists. Natural gas provides about 24 percent of all the energy used in the United States. Gas utilities serve more than 60 million customers. Since Americans consume over 700 million gallons of petroleum products per day, pipelines are an essential component of our nation’s infrastructure. Pipelines are made of steel, covered with protective coating and buried underground. They are tested and maintained through the use of cleaning devices, diagnostic tools, and cathodic protection.

West Shore Pipe Line Company performs systemic patrols along their pipeline route to insure the security of their lines. Pipeline personnel will work with local police and fire departments in the event of an emergency. West Shore Pipe Line Company communicates regularly with emergency officials. Even though it is extremely unlikely that a leak will occur, this information will prepare you in the event of a leak or spill. Our hope is to continue to be a good neighbor and provide you with information to help you avoid potentially dangerous activity near pipelines in your area. These safety guidelines will provide you with important information if you suspect a problem. The safe operation of pipelines is our primary concern. This includes your property and the protection of the environment.

Written agreements or easements between landowners and pipeline companies allow pipeline companies to construct and maintain pipeline right-of-way across privately-owner property.

If you are not aware of pipelines on or near your property, check the pipeline markers posted on your property, along your property, and in your neighborhood. You may also check your property record at your County Clerks Office.


Pipeline Monitoring

Modern pipelines are monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Sophisticated computers, alarms, meters, and satellite technology may be used to control and monitor pipeline systems. These systems are designed to detect changes in pressure and flow, and will be activated if a leak is detected. Some pipelines contain automatic shut-off valves that will isolate a leak immediately.


Utility Markers

For your safety, markers show the approximate location of pipelines and identify the companies that own them. Markers may be anywhere along the right-or-way or directly over a pipeline. Markers indicate only the approximate location of the pipeline within the right-of-way. The pipeline may not follow a straight course between markers. While markers are helpful in locating pipelines, they are limited in the information they provide. They provide no information, for example, on the depth or the number of pipelines in the right-of-way. The markers can be found where the pipeline intersects a street, highway or railway. These markers display the material transported in the pipeline, the name of the pipeline operator and a telephone number where the pipeline operator can be reached in the event of an emergency. You should be aware of any pipeline markers in your neighborhood. If possible, write down the name and phone number on the pipeline markers in case of an emergency.

Pipeline markers are important for the safety of the general public. It is a federal crime for any person to willfully deface, damage, remove, or destroy any pipeline sign or right-of-way marker.


What to do if you dig and disturb or damage a pipeline or natural gas line

Even if you cause what appears to be only minor damage to the pipeline, notify the West Shore Pipe Line Company immediately. A gouge, scrap, dent, or crease to the pipe or coating may cause a future rupture or leak. It is imperative that the West Shore Pipe Line Company inspects and repairs any damage to the line or related apparatus. Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Chicago law requires all damages to be reported to the facility owner. Do not attempt to make repairs to the line yourself.


What to do When a Leak Occurs

  1. Leave the area immediately.
  2. Abandon any equipment being used in or near the suspected leak.
  3. From a safe location, call 911 or your local emergency response number and the West Shore Pipe Line Company. Call collect, if needed, and give your name, phone number, description of the leak and its location.
  4. Warn other to stay away when possible.


What NOT to do when a Leak Occurs

  1. Do not touch, breath or make contact with the leaking liquids. Stay upwind if possible.
  2. Do not light a match, start an engine, use a telephone, turn on or off light switches or do anything that may cause a spark.
  3. Do not attempt to extinguish any pipeline fire that may start.
  4. Do not drive into a leak or vapor cloud area. Automobile engines may ignite the vapors.
  5. Do not drive into a leak or vapor cloud area. Automobile engines may ignite the vapors.


Emergency action procedures for Public Safety Officials

Public safety officials know to take whatever steps are deemed necessary to safeguard the public in the event of a pipeline emergency. These suggestions are offered only as a guide:

Secure the area around the leak to a safe distance. This could include the evacuation of people from homes, businesses, schools, and other locations, as well as erection of barricades to control access to the emergency site and similar precautions.

If the pipeline leak is not burning, take steps to prevent ignition. This could include prohibiting smoking, rerouting traffic, and shutting off the electricity and residential gas supply.

If the pipeline is burning, try to prevent the spread of fire but do not attempt to extinguish it. Burning petroleum products will not explode. If the fire is extinguished, gas and vapor may collect and could explode when re-ignited by secondary fires.

Contact the West Shore Pipe Line Company as quickly as possible. Pipeline markers show our company name, emergency telephone number and pipeline contents.

Public safety personnel unfamiliar with the pipeline involved in the emergency should not attempt to operate any of the valves on the pipeline. Improper operation of the pipeline valves could escalate the situation and cause other accidents to happen.


Pipeline Operator’s actions during an emergency

West Shore Pipe Line Company will immediately dispatch personnel to the site to help handle the emergency and to provide information to public safety officials to aid in the response to the emergency. They will also take necessary operating action such as, starting and stopping pumps, closing and opening valves, and similar steps to minimize the impact of the situation.


Can I build or dig on a right-of-way?

Pipeline right-of-ways must be kept free from structures and other obstruction to provide access to the pipeline for maintenance, as well as 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 our personnel mark the pipeline or stake the right-of-ways and explain the company’s construction guidelines to you.


We need your help

The Nation’s infrastructures, including pipelines, are a matter of National Security. If you witness suspicious activity on a pipeline right-of-way please report it to the appropriate authorities as soon as possible, and you should call West Shore Pipe Line Company numbers listed on this website.


Pipeline Security

People rarely consider the journey fuel takes before reaching the end-user.

Airplanes can’t fly, cars can’t take us to our jobs, buses can’t get children to school, and ambulances can’t respond to calls without transportation of fuel. Petroleum pipelines provide a safe method of transporting and delivering the gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, kerosene, and home heating oil we rely on every day.

Because pipelines are usually buried, most people don’t see or think about them. Those who do are usually unaware of strategies to ensure safe operation. The location of the majority of pipeline systems several feet underground makes them less vulnerable to attack than other facilities. West Shore regularly patrols the pipeline to rule out unsafe activity.

West Shore uses steel pipelines, and applies a protective coating and electrical current to the pipeline to prevent corrosion. Our pipelines are buried under fields, yards, streets, or in road or railroad corridors.

The use of advanced computers and SCADA systems (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) is a key aspect of safe pipeline operation. SCADA systems are designed to detect abnormal operating conditions, such as an unexpected change in pipeline flow rate or pressure. Upon detection, the process of shutting the pipeline down would immediately commence and well-trained West Shore employees and, if needed, police and fire fighters would respond to the problem area.

Petroleum pipelines such as West Shore’s are regulated by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration – United States Department of Transportation and various state agencies. Regulatory organizations routinely inspect pipeline facilities and examine operating and personnel records to ensure safe conditions and compliance with requirements.

West Shore’s pipelines are a vital, protected component of our country’s transportation infrastructure. We are proud to safely deliver the products that fuel our nation.

Additional information on pipeline security and what you can do to help keep pipelines safe is available in Good Neighbors – a cooperative effort for pipeline neighbors that was prepared by West Shore and the Transportation Security Administration. It can be downloaded by clicking here or the image to the right.

Be a good neighbor – Report unusual or suspicious activity near pipeline facilities.

Be aware of the following:
• People acting suspiciously near pipeline facilities
• People in or loitering near places they do not belong
• A strong odor coming from a building or vehicle
• Fluid leaking from a vehicle, other than the engine or gas tank
• People recording or monitoring activities or showing unusual interest in pipeline facilities
• People taking photos or notes of pipeline facilities

When reporting suspicious activity be sure to describe:
• What happened • Where it happened
• How many people were involved • When it occurred

When reporting a person include personal characteristics like:
• Age • Gender • Hair color/length
• Height/weight • Build • Race
• Facial Features • Clothing • Tattoos

When reporting a vehicle include vehicle features such as:
• Vehicle make, model and color
• Licence plate number and state
• Bumper stickers
• Body damage

If it does not look right, it probably is not. Report it to your pipeline company neighbor!