Right of Way
A right of way (ROW) refers to the section of land over a natural gas pipeline. It is typically at least 30 feet wide, or 15 feet on either side of the pipeline. The ROW agreement generally places some restrictions on use of the ROW regarding construction of buildings, trees, fencing and addition or removal of cover over the pipeline. RW Gathering will work with property owners in the event you need to cross the pipeline with heavy construction or logging equipment. If you have any questions about an activity you may want to perform on the ROW, please contact RW Gathering at 724-873-3400. The ROW agreement allows RW Gathering to perform normal maintenance tasks on the pipeline which may include pipeline patrols (by foot or UTV, mowing, cathodic protection surveys, etc.)
Line markers and/or test stations identify the approximate location of RW Gathering pipelines. They are generally located where the pipeline crosses a public road, water body, another company’s pipeline, and other points such as fence lines. All test stations and line markers include the operator’s name and emergency contact number. Test stations have the same identifying marks on them as line markers but also serve as terminal strips where wires connected to the pipeline or cathodic protection devices are brought above grade where they can easily be monitored. Pipeline markers and test stations do not generally provide any information regarding the size of the pipeline nor its’ depth. Remember that the presence of line markers do not negate the need to make a one call. If you accidentally damage a line marker or test station please contact the company to replace or repair it.
RW Gathering gas pipelines consist of coated steel pipe ranging in size from 4 to 16 inches. All steel RW Gathering pipelines are under cathodic protection provided by rectifiers and ground beds. RW Gathering also has a small number of fresh water lines which are identified by flat blue line markers.
Above Ground Piping
Above ground piping consists of valves, pig launchers, and pig receivers. Pig launchers and receivers permit the passage of pipeline cleaning and inspections tools, which are known as pigs. When the piping needs to be vented or “blown down” for maintenance, valves are used to isolate pipeline segments for these processes.
Compressor stations are used to boost the pressure of natural gas so that it can be delivered into higher pressure transmission or midstream pipelines. Other facilities at compressor stations clean and filter the natural gas and remove moisture so that the gas meets the quality requirements for downstream consumers.
- By smell the smell of odorized natural gas smells somewhat like rotten eggs. Methane is odorless and colorless so the addition of odorant (generally a mercaptan substance) is used to make natural gas identifiable by smell. Note that not all natural gas pipelines are odorized.
- By sight Natural gas releases may be identified by patches of dead vegetation, by bubbling in a puddle or other water body; by flames coming from out of the ground, or by dirt being blown out of the ground.
- By hearing a roaring or hissing sound coming out of the ground can indicate a natural gas pipeline release.
If you encounter a natural gas leak
If you are in a house or other structure, evacuate the building immediately and go to a safe location upwind and away from the leak. As you evacuate, do not operate any electrical devices (for example, do not turn lights on or off) and do not use a phone in the presence of a potential gas leak. Leave doors and windows open as you evacuate. Do not smoke or create any kind of spark that could ignite the natural gas vapors.
Once you have safely evacuated, then report the leak by calling 911 or a local emergency number as appropriate. After notifying emergency services you can notify RW Gathering by calling 888-308-1894. Remember to provide your name and a phone number to call you back in the event the call is lost.
As you wait for emergency services personnel to arrive keep others at a safe distance. Never re-enter the structure until you have been instructed by emergency services personnel that it is safe to do so.
Notes for emergency services personnel
- Never operate a valve unless instructed to do so by RW Gathering personnel.
- Never attempt to extinguish a gas fire until the source of gas has been isolated by RW Gathering personnel.
- Do not drive into or close to a leak.
- Maintain a safe distance and eliminate ignition sources.