[Skip to Content]
DOT Logo
U.S. Department
of Transportation

Pipeline Safety Stakeholder Communications

Pipeline Safety Connects Us All

PIPA Recommended Practice ND03

ND03 "Review Acceptability of Proposed Land Use of Transmission Pipeline Right-of-Way Prior to Design"

Practice Statement The property developer/owner should review preliminary information about acceptable land uses on a transmission pipeline right-of-way prior to the design of a property development.

Audience(s): Property Developer and Owner

Practice Description

Managing land use activities on a transmission pipeline right-of-way (ROW) is a challenge for all stakeholders involved. A property developer/owner may desire to utilize the ROW in a property development. However, inappropriate land use activities can contribute to the occurrence of a transmission pipeline incident and expose those working or living near a transmission pipeline to harm should an incident occur.

When considering a new land use activity in a transmission pipeline ROW, the property developer/owner, along with the pipeline operator should consider who maintains the ROW and how it is maintained. The existing easement is the governing document and any changes to that document should be recorded in an encroachment agreement (see Recommended Practice ND26). Encroachment agreements are encouraged to ensure appropriate communication occurs and that all parties have appropriate and complete information on which to base decisions. It should be noted that most ROW agreements have a section for pipeline repairs with the understanding that the ROW may be disturbed, whether by access or excavation. The need for repairs is a considering factor into the acceptability of a land use or activity on a transmission pipeline ROW.

Many transmission pipeline operators provide operator specific guidelines for uses of the pipeline right-of-way. Pipeline industry association websites provide guidance materials to assist the property developer/owner in assessing the common acceptability of different uses of the pipeline right-of-way. The table in Appendix D is another source of guidance intended to increase awareness and encourage early communication among key stakeholders when considering changes to existing land use or new land use development near existing transmission pipelines.

Appendix D lists common land use activities as a guideline in determining whether a proposed land use may be acceptable or not. There may be variances to this guidance based on site specific conditions and individual pipeline operator practices. Early notification to the transmission pipeline operators by the property developer/owner is encouraged, to ensure optimum land use considerations and pipeline safety.