Sweeny Police | Pipeline Safety

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Pipeline Safety

The City of Sweeny is located approximately five miles south of a major petroleum refinery operated by ConocoPhillips.  Many other refineries also operate in the area, such as DOW and BASF.  Pipeline safety, for this reason, is a major concern for area residents. 

There are over 250,000 miles of pipelines underground in the United States transporting over one billion gallons of liquid petroleum every day.   These pipelines provide an extensive and efficient transportation infrastructure that is virtually invisible.  The use of pipelines helps keep the costs of gasoline and other petroleum products down and are vital to our nation's economy.  Of all transportation types (truck, train, ship, barge, pipeline), the pipeline is the safest, quietest, and least expensive way to move large amounts of liquid or gas petroleum.  According to the Department of Transportation, pipelines are the safest method for transporting petroleum.

What is Petroleum?  Liquid petroleum begins as crude oil that is pumped out of the ground.  At a refinery, crude oil is heated and separated into different fuels and chemicals.   Americans consume more than 700 million gallons of petroleum products each day in the form of gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil, and jet fuel.

Click on one of the links below to jump to that topic.


Safety & Security

The nation's infrastructure, including pipelines, are a matter of national security.  If you witness suspicious activity on a pipeline right-of-way, or someone tampering with pipeline markers or other pipeline equipment, please call your local law enforcement agency immediately to report the activity.

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Pipeline Markers

Pipeline markers include warning signs, aerial patrol markers, casting vents, as well as painted metal, wooden, and plastic posts.  The picture below shows some commonly used pipeline markers.

Pipeline Markers (Courtesy: ExxonMobil Pipeline Company)

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Guidelines for Property Owners

The number one cause of pipeline leaks is third party damage (excavation, blasting, digging, drilling, grading, boring, etc.) from earth-moving and construction equipment and tools.  Not only pipelines, but there are many utilities under the ground that you cannot see: water, electrical, gas, cable, and telephone communications.


If you plan engage in one of the below activities or any other type of activity near a pipeline, call before you dig.


Texas Excavation Safety Systems (1-800-DIG-TESS)
  • Excavate
  • Grade
  • Auger
  • Bore
  • Tunnel
  • Dredge
  • Install swimming pool
  • Install telephone, TV, or power cables
  • Install drain tile
  • Cut or deepen ditches
  • Blast for clearing
  • Dig postholes
  • Repair or rebuild driveway
  • Plant trees or shrubs
  • Build home or additions
  • Install water, sewer, septic systems, or drain

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Texas Notification Centers

There are three notification  centers in Texas.  They all operate on the same principle.  They are computerized notification centers which establishes a communications link between those who dig underground (excavators) and those who operate underground facilities (operators).  These centers will determine from the excavator the location of the work.  They will notify all its members with underground facilities in the area where excavation will take place, as well as all registered notification centers in Texas.  All messages to and from these centers are recorded for the protection of both the excavator and the operators.  The three centers are listed below.

Center Name Phone #
Call Before You Dig 8-1-1
Texas One Call System 1-800-245-4545
Lone Star Notification Center 1-800-669-8344
DIG TESS (Texas Excavation Safety Systems) 1-800-344-8377
National One-Call Referral Number 1-888-258-0808

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Signs of a Pipeline Leak

  • Hissing or roaring sound.
  • Unusual blowing of dirt or dust in the immediate area.
  • Unusual, pungent odor, usually a gaseous hydrocarbon, or other unusual odor, sometimes smelling like rotten eggs.**
  • Pool of liquid on the ground near a pipeline.
  • Dense white cloud of fog over a pipeline or migrating to low lying areas.
  • Persistent bubbles in standing water.
  • Oil sheen in wet or flooded areas.
  • Brown spots or dying vegetation amid healthy plants.
  • Flames originating from the ground or valves along the pipeline route.

** Natural gas is essentially odorless.  An odorant called mercaptan is sometimes added to natural gas for safety reasons.  This odorant produces a distinctive "rotten egg" or "skunk" smell.

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What to do if a Leak is Suspected

  • DO NOT touch, breathe, or make contact with leaking liquids or vapors.
  • Turn off any machinery or equipment in the immediate area.
  • DO NOT attempt to extinguish a fire that may be fed by the contents of the pipeline.
  • Avoid creating sparks or sources of heat that could cause vapors or liquids to ignite.
  • DO NOT light a match, start an engine, or even switch on or off an electric light.
  • Turn off any lit pilot lights.
  • DO NOT drive into or near the area around the leak.  The car engine might ignite the vapors.
  • Immediately leave the area by foot and in a direction away from any vapors or fumes.
  • Warn other in the vicinity to stay away from the area.
  • Call 911 to alert sheriff/police/fire departments
  • Advise them of the location and nature of the situation.

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For More Information...

We have provided a comprehensive list of the names of pipeline companies operating in this area, as well as emergency phone numbers and Internet links to these companies, if available.

Company Emergency #
AEP - Houston Pipe Line Company, LP 1-800-392-1965
Air Liquide America 1-800-364-7378
Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. 1-800-572-6521
American Midstream 1-800-323-6241
BP Pipelines (North America) 1-800-548-6482
Buckeye Gulf Coast Pipe Lines, LP 1-713-651-1464
Center Point Energy 1-281-479-6218
Chevron Pipe Line Company 1-800-762-3404
Citgo Pipeline Company 1-800-467-5689
ConocoPhillips Pipe Line Company (CPPL) 1-877-267-2290
DOW Pipeline Company 1-800-223-4412
Duke Energy Field Services 1-888-204-1781
El Paso Field Services 1-800-644-4773
Enbridge Pipelines, LP 1-800-343-2336
Enterprise Products Operating L.P. 1-800-644-4773
Equistar 1-800-525-7516
Explorer Pipeline 1-888-876-0036
ExxonMobil Pipeline Company 1-800-537-5200
Florida Gas Transmission Company 1-713-654-7836
Genesis Pipeline Company 1-800-806-5463
Harvest Pipeline Company 1-713-209-2400
Hilcorp Energy Company 1-713-209-2400
Kinder Morgan, Inc. 1-888-763-3690
Kinder Morgan Tejas Pipeline 1-800-633-0184
Kinder Morgan Texas Pipeline, LP 1-800-633-0184
Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America 1-800-733-2490
Phillips Pipe Line Company 1-800-766-8230
Samedan Oil Corporation 1-713-788-0943
Shell Pipeline Company, LP 1-800-922-3459
Teppco Crude Pipeline, LP 1-800-220-1058
Texas Eastern Transmission, LP 1-800-231-7794
Trailblazer Pipeline Company 1-800-733-2490
TXU Gas 1-800-817-8090
Valero Pipeline Company 1-888-825-3761
Williams Energy Field Services 1-800-440-8475
Environmental Protection Agencies  
Beach Clean-Up 1-800-852-3224
Natural Resources (Attorney General) 1-512-463-2012
RCRA/Superfund Industrial Association 1-800-424-9346
Texas Natural Resources Conservation Comm. 1-800-648-3927
Texas Oil Spills 1-800-832-8224

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Legal Requirement
Under the Texas Utilities Code, any digging or other such activity that could potentially damage or destroy an underground pipeline in Texas requires 48 hours notification to a  notification center prior to such activity.

See the list of Texas Notification Centers on this page.



811 - Call Before you Dig


Pipeline Safety Links

Office of Pipeline Safety


Dig Safely


Federal Energy Regulatory Commission


National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS)


Pipeline 101


Common Ground Alliance


American Petroleum Institute


Pipeline Emergency Program