Demonstration warns contractors about dangers of pipeline excavation

CPS Energy and Texas811 showed local contractors what happens when a backhoe or other heavy machinery breaks or ruptures a pressurized natural gas line. More than 300 pipelines are damaged each year in San Antonio through improper excavation practices. Such an event can inflict significant damage on people and property around a ruptured pipeline.

The underground damage workshop was held in a controlled environment, but contractors got a valuable introduction to Call 811 fundamentals, underground pipeline locating, and actions to take when a pipeline is ruptured.

Contractors are required by law to call 811 before beginning an excavation project. Utilities like CPS Energy will mark the approximate location of your underground utility lines. This typically occurs within 2-3 working days. Residents also are advised to call 811 before beginning most digging projects around their home like building a fence or deck or other landscaping projects. The line-marking service is free.

“Safety is our primary concern – that’s why we are conducting this pipeline safety demonstration — to educate construction and utility workers,” says Don Stanton, senior director of gas delivery at CPS Energy.

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“Last year, Texas811 received over two and a half million requests from excavators to have underground lines marked in Texas – and still the greatest cause of underground incidents is failure to call 811 prior to a dig,” says Texas811 president Mike Losawyer.

Dig incidents not only result in damage, but they are also subject to fines from the Railroad Commission of Texas.

CPS Energy – Safety on the Job

Scott Wudel

Scott was part of the Corporate Communications team at CPS Energy.

3 thoughts on “Demonstration warns contractors about dangers of pipeline excavation

  • Thanks for sharing this. I definitely agree that it is important for any excavation contractors to not damage pipes when they are doing their job. It is really awesome that contractors are required to call 811 before a project, though. It means that they have to go through extra precautions that could prevent an accident. At the very least, calling 811 alerts those companies that there is the possibility of damage, even if it is very small.

  • It’s good to see that safety us held with such high concern. These types of projects can have serious consequences to people involved if the necessary steps are not taken before an excavation. Seems like simply calling the 811 number (or whatever that number may be, where ever you are), can stop unforeseen accidents from happening.

  • Great post post about excavation safety. It seems like this demonstration was really informative. I can’t believe that 300 pipelines are damaged each year in San Antonio alone! Wow! I love that Texas has such an accessible line to call to have underground lines marked. This service seems like it will go a long way. I would love to see if it changes the number of pipeline issues.


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