Recognizing and Responding to Pipeline Emergencies

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

Know the Warning Signs of a Leak

  • A dark or oily 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; for safety 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.

Follow the Instructions of the Local Emergency Responders

Colonial partners with local and state public safety agencies to manage an emergency. Always follow the instructions of local emergency responders to ensure your safety.

Reporting Damage to the Pipeline

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Colonial Emergency Response Plans

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