Natural gas comes into homes and businesses through a network of underground pipelines that may be located on or near your property. These pipelines have exceptional safety records - however, like electrical lines, they can be dangerous and must be respected.

Since pipelines are buried underground, utility companies often use markers to show the approximate location – particularly in rural areas. Markers may be anywhere along the pipeline "right-of-way," which typically run along a public street, but may also be on or near private property.

The owner of the pipeline has the right to restrict certain activities in the right-of-way so they can access the area in an emergency or for maintenance.

The color, size and design may vary, but all markers must display the following:

  • Approximate location of pipelines;
  • Material transported in the pipeline;
  • Name of the pipeline operator; and
  • Operator’s telephone number in case of an emergency.

However, not all lines are marked, so it is critical that you dial 811 or contact your state’s One Call Center before digging. Right-of-way locations are usually recorded with counties or local municipalities and filed on maps.

Maintaining your buried gas piping

Do you have buried natural gas lines for a pool, workshop or other use on your property? You should know about a federal law covering the maintenance of customer-owned gas piping.

In most cases, gas companies maintain buried gas piping up to the outlet of the gas meter on your property. All gas piping beyond this point is the responsibility of the property owner.

Some examples of buried gas piping that are not maintained by utility companies are:

  • Buried piping past the outlet of a meter supplying mobile homes;
  • Buried piping past the outlet of a meter supplying secondary buildings, such as a detached garage and workshops;
  • Buried piping past the outlet of a meter supplying additional equipment, such as pool heaters, gas grills and yard lamps.

The federal law administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation (Title 49 CFR 192.16) states:

  • Buried piping that is not maintained may be subject to the potential hazards of corrosion and leakage.
  • Buried piping should be:
    • Periodically inspected for leaks;
    • Periodically inspected for corrosion if the piping is metallic;
    • Repaired or removed from service if any unsafe condition is discovered.
  • Before excavating near buried piping, the piping should be located and excavating done carefully by hand. Underground locating contractors may assist with locating buried piping. A plumbing or heating contractor may be able to provide assistance with inspection and repair of buried piping.

More from this category

Take care with power tools

Man using a circular saw

Taking a few minutes to check power tools before and after using will keep them in good working order and will keep you safe.

learn more

Portable generators & space heaters

portable generator

Portable heaters and generators are convenient, but use them with extreme caution.

learn more

Home security systems

Lit up house at night

Many homeowners are investing in home security systems to deter criminals, provide home protection and deliver peace of mind.

learn more

Garage door app

Pete and garage door specialist looking at garage door opener and phone app

A garage door app will alert you when the door is open and allow you to open and close the door from your smart phone.

learn more

Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI)

GFCI outlet

GFCI outlets should be used by all water sources to prevent electric shock. Find out why.

learn more

Wiring and grounding in older homes

Wires running through the walls of an older home

The wiring inside most older houses wasn’t designed to handle the electrical needs we have today.

learn more

Natural gas leaks

Groucho Marx glasses

Although leaks from natural gas lines are rare, it’s important to know the warning signs.

learn more

Gas appliance safety

Gas appliance connector cord

Keep these safety guidelines in mind when using gas-consuming products such as stoves, clothes dryers, water heaters and furnaces.

learn more

Radon gas

Radon pipe in rock

Find out how to test for radon in your home and what to do if you have it.

learn more