At Texas811, damage prevention is our number one concern. Protecting Texas’ underground infrastructure is a 24/7/365 job for us that last year resulted in over two and a half million incoming locate requests affecting our 1450 plus members. We all know the routine: the free 811 call comes in, the information is taken, a ticket is issued, utilities are notified, and finally the location of underground pipes and cables is marked prior to a dig.
Where did all of these underground lines come from?
According to information on www.pipeline101.com and Wikipedia, the use of pipe to carry oil in the United States dates to approximately the end of the American Civil War. The first commercial oil well was drilled in Titusville, Pennsylvania by Edwin Drake in 1859. By 1865, the Oil Transport Association had apparently built a two inch diameter cast iron pipe to carry oil from the wellhead to a railroad station in Oil Creek, about six miles away.
Iron and wooden pipe had been in use for many decades before, primarily to transport water. Wooden pipe was even used to carry natural gas at one point! Information from the website www.petroleumhistory.org states that “In 1821, gas from an excavated gas spring on Canadaway Creek in Fredonia, N.Y. was conveyed in a wood pipe to a nearby user and sold on a burner basis (30 burners were supplied). In 1823, gas found bubbling up through joints in the organic shale cropping out along the south shore in Lake Erie was captured and piped to the Barcelona Harbor lighthouse through pine logs (Oil & Gas Journal, Derrick, 1934). There were other early gas occurrences in the Appalachian basin that were utilized by piping through wood pipes.”
These early pipelines were nothing like what we are used to today. They were short, environmental concerns weren’t a priority, and quality control was probably non-existent. Compare those days to what we’re familiar with today: pipelines made of steel, of various plastics, of copper – all of it designed to be as impervious as possible to soil and transport conditions.
Pipe designers and manufacturers are doing their part to ensure that their product is safe and environmentally sound when it leaves their facility before being put to use in the field.
The one thing they cannot protect against is blind digging that occurs without a proper 811 locate request.
So – do your part to have a positive impact on the pipeline industry! Call 811 before you dig.
It’s fast. It’s easy. It’s free.
And it’s the law!