Pipeline Safety & Public Awareness
Pipeline Purpose and Reliability
Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. operates approximately 7,500 miles of natural gas and propane gas pipeline. Natural gas and propane gas are delivered for household, commercial and industrial use. Montana-Dakota operates a safe and efficient pipeline distribution network of stations, mains, services and meters. Natural gas and propane gas are the most popular home heating fuels in America, and natural gas and propane gas pipelines are among the safest and most secure methods of transporting energy.
Pipeline operators are extensively regulated by federal and state regulations with regard to design, construction, operation and maintenance. The natural gas and propane gas industry works diligently to stay abreast of new safety methods and technologies to ensure the highest levels of security. Montana-Dakota maintains memberships in industry associations and we continually evaluate our security procedures for enhancement. At Montana-Dakota, our primary goal is to deliver natural gas and propane gas reliably and safely to you, our customer. In doing so, we want you to know what to do if you ever smell gas or if a natural gas or propane gas pipeline emergency occurs where you live or work.
Leak Recognition and Response
gas leak is usually recognized by smell, sight or sound:
SMELL. Natural gas and propane gas are colorless and odorless. Typically, a distinct and recognizable odorant is added to natural gas and propane gas, so people detect and recognize it quickly.
SIGHT. A dust cloud, mist, fog, bubbles in standing water, or vegetation that appears to be dead or dying for no apparent reason.
SOUND. An unusual noise like roaring, hissing or whistling.
What should you do if you suspect a leak:
MOVE to a safe location.
CALL from a safe location call your local emergency responders at 911 and Montana-Dakota at 800-638-3278. Give them your name, phone number, description of the leak and its location.
DO NOT strike a match, use telephones, operate engines and motors, switch lights or appliances on or off, or even turn on a flashlight in the area where you smell gas. These items can produce sparks that might ignite the gas and cause an explosion.
DO NOT attempt to extinguish any pipeline fire that may start.
DO NOT attempt to operate pipeline valves.
Pipeline operator’s actions during an emergency:
The pipeline operator, in cooperation with local emergency responders, will immediately dispatch personnel to the site to help handle the emergency and to provide information to the public safety officials to aid their response to the emergency. They also will take the necessary operating actions such as closing and
opening valves, to minimize the impact of the situation.
Hazard Awareness and Prevention Measures
Natural gas and propane gas pipelines have the best safety record of any type of transportation system in the United States. Natural gas and propane gas are clean, convenient and efficient, which makes it the popular energy of choice.
Like all forms of energy, however, it must be handled properly. Despite an excellent safety record, a gas leak caused by damage to a pipeline may pose a hazard and has the potential to ignite. Montana-Dakota works diligently to ensure the safety of our pipelines through a variety of measures.
For your safety, markers show the approximate location of pipelines and identify the companies that own and operate them. Markers may be anywhere along the right-of-way or directly over the pipelines. The pipeline may not follow a straight course between markers. While markers are helpful in locating pipelines, they provide limited information. 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 pipelines intersect a street, highway or railroad. These markers display the material transported in the pipeline, the name of the pipeline operator, and the 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 and, if possible, write down the name and phone numbers appearing on the pipeline markers in case of an emergency.
The greatest risk to underground natural gas and propane gas pipelines is accidental damage during excavation. Even minor damage such as a dent, scrape, crease or gouge to a pipeline coating may cause a leak or failure.
Call Before You Dig. It’s the law!
Call 811. It’s a free call! The One Call Center will let us know who you are and where you intend to dig. The law requires all persons planning excavations to give their local One Call Center two days’ notice of their intent to excavate any area, including public and private property, where underground utilities may exist. Montana-Dakota or our contractor will mark the location of our underground facilities in that area. We ask for your cooperation and participation in this program to help prevent damage to underground utilities and to promote public safety.
Remember to Dig Safely
- Call 811 before digging.
- Wait for the site to be marked.
- Respect the marks.
- Dig with care. (Remember, pipeline markings do not indicate pipeline depth.)
FOR GAS EMERGENCIES, CALL 911. BEFORE DIGGING, CALL 811.
For additional information on pipelines in your area, you can contact:
MT — www.psc.mt.gov
ND — www.psc.nd.gov
SD — www.puc.sd.gov
WY — psc.state.wy.us
Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.
The National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) website contains
operator and location information on liquid and natural gas
transmission pipeline locations within the United States: