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Pipeline Safety Stakeholder Communications

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PIPA Recommended Practice BL13

BL13 "Prevent and Manage Right-of-Way Encroachment"

Practice Statement Transmission pipeline operators should communicate in a documented and timely manner with property developers/owners to prevent or rectify unacceptable encroachments or inappropriate human activity within the transmission pipeline right-of-way.

Audience(s): Transmission Pipeline Operator

Practice Description

When property developers/owners place structures, trees or other facilities on the transmission pipeline right-of-way (ROW), these encroachments may interfere with pipeline operations. The transmission pipeline operator should seek relief from the encroachment, particularly when the obstruction of an easement is of a permanent character.

To ensure consistency, a transmission pipeline operator should have a written encroachment policy in place. The policy should address: educating stakeholders, patrolling and inspecting the pipeline ROW for unsafe conditions and activities, documenting the results of patrols and inspections, communicating with stakeholders regarding encroachments, and removing unacceptable encroachments, including long-standing ones.

Once an encroachment is detected, the pipeline operator should document the encroachment and contact the encroaching party. If the encroachment is deemed acceptable by the pipeline operator, an encroachment agreement should be documented and signed by the landowner and the pipeline operator in accordance with the operator's policy, and recorded with the statutory office (i.e. county recorder, parish clerk).

Encroachment policies should be enforced diligently, uniformly and consistently. To promote encroachment prevention, landowners and developers should seek approval from the transmission pipeline operator for any plans that could impact the transmission pipeline ROW. Pipeline operators should ensure that all pipeline markers and signs are in good condition, legible and properly located. They should have adequately maintained and clearly defined ROWs (see PIPA Recommended Practice BL12).

Communication between the transmission pipeline operator and the property developer/owner builds a partnership in pipeline safety.