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Demonstration warns contractors about dangers of pipeline excavation
By Gary Chavez on May 14, 2015
CPS Energy and Texas811 showed local contractors what happens when a backhoe or other heavy machinery breaks or ruptures a pressurized natural gas line. More than 300 pipelines are damaged each year in San Antonio through improper excavation practices. Such an event can inflict significant damage on people and property around a ruptured pipeline.
The underground damage workshop was held in a controlled environment, but contractors got a valuable introduction to Call 811 fundamentals, underground pipeline locating, and actions to take when a pipeline is ruptured.
Contractors are required by law to call 811 before beginning an excavation project. Utilities like CPS Energy will mark the approximate location of your underground utility lines. This typically occurs within 2-3 working days. Residents also are advised to call 811 before beginning most digging projects around their home like building a fence or deck or other landscaping projects. The line-marking service is free.
“Safety is our primary concern – that’s why we are conducting this pipeline safety demonstration — to educate construction and utility workers,” says Don Stanton, senior director of gas delivery at CPS Energy.
“Last year, Texas811 received over two and a half million requests from excavators to have underground lines marked in Texas – and still the greatest cause of underground incidents is failure to call 811 prior to a dig,” says Texas811 president Mike Losawyer.
Dig incidents not only result in damage, but they are also subject to fines from the Railroad Commission of Texas.