Recognizing & Responding to Pipeline Emergencies

Pipeline accidents are rare, but they can occur. It’s important to know how to recognize a pipeline emergency and the immediate actions you should take to protect people, property and the environment.

Know the warning signs of a leak:

A dark or oil patch on the ground

  • A colorful sheen on water

  • Distinct areas of dead vegetation in an otherwise green landscape

  • An unusual hissing or roaring noise coming from the pipeline

  • A strong odor of petroleum products (oil or gasoline)

Take action if you suspect a leak:

If possible without risking injury, turn off any running equipment and eliminate any ignition sources. If not possible, abandon any equipment and leave the area on foot.

  • Move upwind of the suspected leak. Refined petroleum products are heavier than air; seek a higher location.

  • DO NOT do anything that could create a spark (use a telephone or cell phone, attempt to light a match, start a vehicle engine, turn an electrical appliance on or off, etc.)

  • DO NOT attempt to operate pipeline equipment or close valves.

  • DO NOT come in contact with any escaped product.

  • DO NOT drive into a vapor cloud.

When you are a safe distance away, FIRST Call 911 to report the emergency to local responders; THEN Call 1-800-926-2728 to contact Colonial.

Call Before You Dig

Building a new fence or installing a swimming pool in your back yard? Is the local utility running new underground lines in your neighborhood? Be sure to call “8-1-1” before you dig near a pipeline right of way to prevent accidents and ensure safety.


Safety First

Colonial Pipeline Company is committed to safety and environmental stewardship across all of our operations. This philosophy is fundamental to the success of our business. Please visit our Safety & Environment page to learn more about our operating principles.