What is Pipeline Patrolling?

 In Utility Contractor Services

The DOT/PHMSA requires that pipeline owners maintain their natural gas pipelines, and patrolling is a requirement for transmission lines. Pipeline patrolling is an inspection of natural gas pipelines to identify irregularities that are or can become, a hazard so that they can be repaired.

Natural Gas Pipeline Patrol

Patrolling is a visible inspection of gas pipelines to observe surface conditions on or within the pipeline’s right-of-way. The intent is to identify conditions that impact the safety and operation of a pipeline so that they can be fixed before the damages escalate. While it is common for patrolling to occur after disasters such as floods, earthquakes or hurricanes, the regulations also call for patrolling as regular maintenance on natural gas transmission lines (§192.705 Gas Pipeline Patrolling Regulations). These rules suggest that the technician searches for signs of leakage, washouts, and construction activity. To traverse the pipeline and right of way during the inspection, the technician may walk, drive or even fly over the area.

pipeline patrollingLinc Energy Systems conducts patrolling for our clients, and we have come to realize that there are other aspects the pipeline technician needs to consider as they patrol a line. In other words, any good pipeline technician will go above and beyond what the regulations state. To understand the rules visit our article, What are the Gas Pipeline Patrolling Regulations?

Pipeline Abnormalities

Identifying abnormalities on the pipeline and its right-of-way is essential during a patrol because it can lead to exposure of the pipe to the atmosphere from regular settlement and weather. The right-of-way is a strip of land on both sides of the pipeline that serves as an easement for the pipeline owner to operate and maintain the gas line.

Irregularities the patrol technician should check for on the pipeline and right-of-way include:

  • Dead and discolored vegetation
  • Exposed pipe
  • Sunken backfill
  • Right-of-way encroachments
  • Indication of heavy traffic through the right-of-way
  • Erosion
  • Broken terraces
  • Excavation or construction on or near the right-of-way

Pipeline Patrol Companies

Gas pipeline patrolling is part of the service offerings at Linc Energy Systems which helps many facilities keep in compliance. If you would like more information on how we can assist you with your patrol survey, call us at (303) 697-6701. Alternatively, request a quote now.

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  • Lily Bridgers

    I can’t believe I haven’t heard about how gas pipelines are visually inspected during patrolling to check the surface conditions on or near the pipeline’s right-of-way. You explained that the goal is to spot issues that affect a pipeline’s functioning and safety so that they may be addressed before the damages worsen. You know what, I couldn’t thank you enough for writing this one. I’ve never had anything like this done at my home and the restaurant I own so maybe it’s time I look for a pipeline service and get my system checked out.

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