What Should Property Owners Know About the Pipeline Construction Process?
Attorney Philip Hundl describes the pipeline construction process in this video. Call 800-266-4870 for an appointment or click this link for a free case evaluation.
Summary of the Pipeline Construction Process
Condemnation projects can be associated with pipeline projects, high voltage power lines, canal projects, roadway expansions or new roadways. I’ve had quite a few questions about the pipeline construction process and the different steps and what a landowner can expect.
So I’ve gone online and I’ve found some interesting videos from different pipeline companies that describe how they do pipeline construction. I’ve attached a pipeline construction process video from Williams Energy below, and hopefully it is helpful.
Williams Company or Williams Energy is a pipeline company primarily based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It’s got an extensive network of natural gas pipelines and infrastructure. Their video demonstrates their process. As I think I’ve mentioned before, different companies will have different terminologies for the different steps or processes that they have in their pipeline projects.
Pipeline Construction Process — Preliminary Steps
With the Williams video, they talk about first getting crews out to stake the right of way line. Then the right of way is cleared.
Topsoil is segregated (see the Double Ditching post). Either a backhoe or trencher is used to dig the trench, depending on the type of soil that’s involved with the project.
Along the Gulf Coast, we’ll see mostly track hoes or backhoes doing the trenching. However once you get a little further into the Hill Country, a little further from the Gulf Coast, you begin to use trenchers because the work involves removing more rocks.
Pipeline Construction Process — Construction of the Pipeline
Once the pipe is laid out next to the trench, it’ll be assembled. If there’s any pipe bending that needs to occur, it can often be done onsite. It may be necessary to bend the pipe because of a change in grade.
I had that recently on a site inspection where there was a significant drop in the grade — it was really like a bluff. If the pipe needs to be bent a significant amount, then it’ll be done off site. Or if the route changes and the pipeline changes direction that’s another reason the pipe will be bent.
Sections are then welded together, by welders. As you’ll see in the video, welders have many type of certifications. Then the welds will be visually inspected and x-rayed as well to check the integrity of the welds. We talk about the coating on the pipe. Then the pipeline and the welds will be coated, and then there will be more testing of the line. Once the line is placed in the trench, then it’ll be hydrostatically tested.
Pipeline Construction Process — Restoration
Then the right of way is restored by refilling the trench — subsoil first and then topsoil. The depth of the trench is always covered in the easement agreement. The standard depth that most pipelines companies start out with is 36-inch cover over the pipeline. We always suggest trying to go deeper than that.
The depth of the pipeline is always addressed in the easement agreement. Segregation of the topsoil and subsoil and then the restoration of the right of way area are extremely important and we deal with those topics in the right of way or in the easement agreement. It’s also extremely important that what is agreed to in the easement agreement is actually done during the project. Hopefully this video will be educational for you. So, good luck.
Faced with Condemnation of Your Property?
You should talk with an attorney who is experienced in property condemnation BEFORE you sign any agreements with the pipeline company or right-of-way agent. Call 800-266-4870 for an appointment with Attorney Philip Hundl at our offices or at a location more convenient to you. If you’d like a free case evaluation, please click this link and fill out the form.