AUSTIN –– Texas pipeline industry representatives and the Railroad Commission have scheduled two meetings in Fort Worth on Wednesday, April 28 and Thursday, April 29 to educate area residents about underground pipeline damage prevention. Railroad Commission Pipeline Safety staff will be on hand to answer questions and discuss safety measures a person or company must take before digging or excavating.
To educate the public and contractors about avoiding pipeline damage and safe digging practices, Fort Worth area pipeline industry representatives will provide a free lunch presentation from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 28. The industry also will provide a free breakfast presentation from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., Thursday, April 29. Both presentations will be at the Stockyards Station, 130 East Exchange Ave. (follow signs to free parking). Railroad Commission staff also will be on hand to answer questions after each presentation.
Excavation related damages account for 76 percent of all Texas pipeline accidents. In 2009, 9,660 incidents of third-party excavation damage were reported to the Commission, which is down from the 12,843 incidents reported to the Commission in 2008.
Striking an underground pipeline has the potential to cause injuries, disrupt neighborhood services and can result in fines and repair costs. Not calling 811 before digging or incorrectly marked pipelines, can result in fines of up to $10,000 per day per violation. In addition, the Commission may assess an enhanced violation of up to $25,000. In calendar year 2009, the Commission collected more than $1 million in penalties for excavation damages.
“Certain safety standards must be followed by anyone who digs or excavates near an underground pipeline,” said Chairman Victor Carrillo. “These standards, which include calling 811 before digging to have an underground line marked, will be explained at the Fort Worth meetings.”
Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones said, “It is essential that the public and contractors call 811 before any digging project, whether it’s is a city crew installing in a sewer line or a homeowner building a fence or tilling a garden.”
Commissioner Michael L. Williams said, “Commission rules require the Texas pipeline industry to provide public education meetings statewide, like these in Fort Worth, to ensure Texans are familiar with pipeline damage prevention measures. These meetings will help local residents learn about safe digging around pipelines.”
Information about the Railroad Commission’s underground damage prevention program, accident reporting requirements and safe digging practices can be found through the Pipeline Damage Prevention links on the Commission’s website and also on the Common Ground Alliance’s website.
For more information about these Fort Worth meetings or to RSVP for the meetings, call 512-300-0868 or e-mail your name, company and contact information to TDRFinfo@rrc.texas.gov.