Water Crossings

With over 500,000 miles of pipelines crisscrossing the United States, it's inevitable that the pipeline system must at some point cross rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water.  Because of the heightened sensitivity of these areas, regulatory and industry policy systems are been created to ensure safety and minimize the risk of a pipeline failure near a body of water.

The Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is the regulatory body that governs protected pipeline water crossings.  Some of their requirements for safety include:

But efforts to ensure the highest levels of safety near waterways don't stop there.

The oil and natural gas industry policy takes pipeline water crossing safety beyond the regulatory burden.  Examples of industry measures to heighten safety include:

  • Surveying crossings to determine the river bed, depth, stability and width to identify those prone to erosion and water channel changes.
  • Utilization of real-time monitoring programs and the US Geological Survey (USGS) Water Alert System where available, with pre-established flow rate triggers identifying any potential incidents.
As a result of these regulatory and industry-initiated measures, incidents in and around water crossings are at an all-time low, with the goal always being a perfect record of zero incidents.