Pipeline safety – can you spot the right of way?

In the last two weeks on this blog, we learned that, after an underground pipeline is constructed, the land is returned to a condition as close to pre-construction as possible. ‘Close to’, but not exactly the same – that’s because some activities, such as construction and farming, or vegetation, such as trees, could damage the pipeline.

So, even though the land is returned to a natural state, and vegetation is replaced, it may not look exactly the same as it was before the pipeline was built.

How do pipeline routes look different from the surrounding land?

Pipeline companies pride themselves on the success of their post-construction reclamation efforts, but it’s still important that people can tell where there is an underground pipeline. That way people know that special care must be taken in that area. Here are some of the telltale signs:

  • Markers along the route identify it as a pipeline right of way (also known as a ROW)
  • The area has limited trees
  • Agricultural activity is limited
  • There are no buildings

Think you’ve got it all figured out? Take this quiz to see if you can correctly tell which of the photos show a right of way, and which don’t:

How did you do? Hopefully now you have a good idea how to recognize a pipeline ROW – and an appreciation for the reclamation process!

If you’d like to learn more about reclamation, check out the earlier posts in this reclamation series. And stay tuned for upcoming posts, featuring specific projects.

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association represents Canada’s transmission pipeline companies who operate approximately 119,000 kilometres of pipelines in Canada. In 2015, these energy highways moved approximately 1.2 billion barrels of liquid petroleum products and 5.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Our members transport 97 per cent of Canada’s daily natural gas and onshore crude oil from producing regions to markets throughout North America.