Pipeline Information Center


How to Link Your Website to the Pipeline Information Center

For our planning partners who would like to provide a link from their website directly to the Pipeline Information Center, please click here for logos and link instructions.

Pipeline Information Center Brochure

A brochure describing the information on the PIC website is available for anyone interested in learning more about pipelines. If your municipality or group would like printed copies of the brochure, please contact us at [email protected]. For a PDF of the brochure with active web links, please click here.

Pipeline Information Center Promotional Posters

Pipeline Information Center posters are available for printing and posting in your municipal building. For an 11"x17" poster click here. For an 8.5"x11" poster click here.

Finding Pipeline Easements

To get detailed information about a specific parcel, you should contact the Chester County Recorder of Deeds and provide them with the parcel number of the property you wish to learn more about. The Recorder of Deeds can also help you locate a deed and determine if a pipeline company holds an easement on it.

Pipeline Information Center Presentation

An overview presentation of the Pipeline Information Center and the County's role in pipeline issues can be viewed here.

811 Hotline

811 is the national number designated to protect landscapers/contractors from unintentionally hitting underground utility lines while working on digging projects. 811 helps access locator services in order to mark the approximate location of underground lines, pipes and cables, in order to dig safely. For more information go to www.call811.com.

Pipeline Safety Coalition

The Pipeline Safety Coalition (PSC) is a Pennsylvania Non-Profit that focuses on improving public, personal, and environmental safety in pipeline issues. PSC provides equal access to information, community mentoring and facilitating respectful and productive communication between all parties involved in pipeline issues. The PSC provides information for landowners and communities, and also provides resources, information on pipeline basics, and pipeline safety education. Click here for more information.

Resources for Landowners

A wide range of resources has been assembled for landowners impacted by pipelines, including information about pipeline rights-of-way and easement agreements. That information is located here.

Pipeline Land Use Planning and Model Ordinances for Pennsylvania Municipalities — rev. 2014

The following information was developed by Gaadt Perspectives, LLC as a regulatory approach tailored to this region of Pennsylvania and consistent with PA Municipalities Planning Code. The process undertaken to develop this information and related legal review is described in the "Introduction to Planning Near Pipelines" section below.

Courtesy of Gaadt Perspectives, LLC.

Introduction to Planning Near Pipelines

Municipalities can use their land-use planning, regulatory and permitting authority to reduce the potential risks to people and property near existing and proposed pipelines. A four-part strategy is recommended that addresses:

  • Surface land uses associated with pipelines (but not the below-ground interstate transmission pipelines themselves, which are generally outside the regulatory reach of local municipalities),
  • Street opening standards that address the permitting and design of street excavation and other street-related activities associated with pipelines,
  • Land use regulations that apply to new development near pipelines, and
  • Municipal comprehensive planning, which will provide the rational nexus that links municipal policy and regulation.

While the standards provided in these model ordinances have been reviewed by an experienced municipal solicitor, we recommend that, as with any ordinance standards, municipalities work with their solicitor prior to amending their local ordinances.

Street Opening Model Ordinance

Pipeline construction will usually require street excavation. The types of excavation necessary for pipeline construction can involve deeper or wider trenching and specialized techniques to ensure public safety. Municipalities can use this model ordinance to ensure that street excavations are performed properly and the street is returned to an appropriate condition upon the completion of the work.

Standards for New Development Proposed Near Transmission Pipelines

These regulations are intended to promote public safety by ensuring that new developments, especially those with high populations, which are proposed near existing pipelines are adequately separated from the pipeline corridor, that landscaping is provided to help screen views of the pipeline area, and other safety measures are included.

Standards for Surface Land Uses Affiliated with Transmission Pipelines

These standards address surface uses that are proposed in conjunction with transmission pipelines. Their purpose is to minimize aesthetic, nuisance, and visual impacts of these uses through proper design, siting, and vegetative screening. They are also intended to ensure that surface land uses are in compliance with industry standards as well as state and federal regulations.

Potential Impact Radius and Pipeline Class Locations

Pipelines of different sizes can carry different amounts of products and at different pressures. This section includes a graph that compares a pipeline's maximum pressure with the pipeline's diameter, and then identifies a horizontal area near the pipeline that can be adversely influenced in the event of a pipeline accident. The area that is shown on the graph should receive special attention for land use planning and permitting.

Comprehensive Plan Language for Transmission Pipelines

Municipalities that want to adopt land use regulations associated with gas transmission pipelines should first adopt planning policies that support such regulations. The municipal comprehensive plan should include language that recognizes the potential for pipeline construction, as well as the potential land-use consequences of a pipeline incident, and the municipality's intention to protect the public's health, safety and welfare through the adoption of pipeline-related regulations.

Chester County Association of Township Officials - Pipeline Guidelines for Municipalities

The Chester County Association of Township Officials (CCATO) has developed a "Guide to Pipelines for Chester County Municipalities" which is located in the Resources Section of their website. The Guide provides an outline of basic pipeline terms, an overview of who regulates pipeline siting and safety, and tools for municipalities to gain information early in the planning of pipeline projects. The CCATO Resources page also provides a link to examples of municipal pipeline ordinances. The list of ordinances is located here. Three pipeline presentations that were developed under the 2014 CCATO's PHMSA Technical Assistance Grant, including one specifically relating to pipelines and the role of municipalities in the zoning and land planning are located here on the CCATO website.

The Mayors' Council on Pipeline Safety (MCPS) was created around two tragedies: San Bruno, California's 2010 transmission pipeline explosion (Pacific Gas & Electric), and the City of Allentown, Pennsylvania's gas distribution pipeline explosion. In the aftermath of these tragedies the mayors became advocates for defining reasonable and predictable regulations to safeguard communities, including tighter federal regulations, and that cities be proactive in ensuring higher safety standards. The MCPS is a national team of mayors, elected officials, fire chiefs, first responders, government and non-government organizations, educators and citizens.

The inaugural Mayors' Council on Pipeline Safety conference was held May 14-15 at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Click here to see the conference highlights, including the agenda, speakers and presentations.

Hazard Mitigation Planning: Practices for Land Use Planning and Development Near Pipelines, Pipelines and Informed Planning Alliance (PIPA), 2015

This document provides a framework for State and local governments to utilize the hazard mitigation planning process to examine ways, through their own authorities, to further reduce the risks to their communities associated with hazardous liquid and gas transmission pipeline failures. While the authority to prescribe safety standards for transportation pipelines and pipeline facilities generally falls to PHMSA, local governments can use their land use and development authorities to influence what, where, and how to build near existing transmission pipelines and to implement hazard mitigation strategies. This includes mitigation measures a jurisdictional government might consider including in its hazard mitigation plan to address pipeline hazards. View document.

Planning Pipelines

How to cope with aging and abandoned energy infrastructure: a Planning Practice story by Tom Burns and Tan Hoang. Article courtesy of APA, Planning Magazine, December 2013. Posted with permission. Read the article.

Building Safe Communities: Pipeline Risk and its Application to Local Development Decisions

The purpose of this report is to assist local governments and developers in better understanding pipeline risks and to provide a context for the use of recommended practices for development near hazardous liquid and gas transmission pipelines. Developed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Read the report.

Landowner's Guide To Pipelines

The guide was developed by the Pipeline Safety Trust, Bellingham, Washington. It provides basic information about the pipeline system, how pipelines are operated and regulated, what rights a landowner has and where to find more information. Read the guide.

Local Government Guide to Pipelines

The guide was developed by the Pipeline Safety Trust, Bellingham, Washington. It provides basic information about pipeline systems. Similar to the Landowner guide, however, focused on what local governmental roles are in planning for development around existing lines, accident prevention, planning for new pipelines, and where to find more information about these topics. View the report.

Enhancing Pipeline Safety Through Land Use Planning: PIPA Final Report

This publication was provided by the Pipelines and Informed Planning Alliance (PIPA), Washington, DC. View the report.

Information for Elected Officials

The report provides recommended practices for stakeholder implementation. View the report.

Transmission Pipelines and Land Use

This publication was provided by the Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC. View the report.

Pipelines and Water Resources Protection

This fact sheet serves as a guide to issues related to natural gas and petroleum pipelines, water resources protection, and municipal regulatory authority and a current case dealing with pipeline activities in Pennsylvania.

Source: Gaadt, John. Pipelines and Water Resources Protection 177 (2015): 8-12. Reprinted from "The Vantage Point: A Publication of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association."

PHMSA's Land Use Planning and Transmission Pipelines page


What is Marcellus Shale?

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has a section on Marcellus Shale, including an FAQ section that discusses what the shale is, where it is located, how deep it is found, mapping and other aspects of this industry. View the website.

Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research

Penn State University has an educational and research initiative on unconventional gas plays called The Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research (MCOR). This site is intended to serve state agencies, elected officials, communities, landowners, industry, and environmental groups. Their goal is to expand research capabilities on technical aspects of developing the Marcellus shale resource.

Shale Gas Knowledge Hub

The Shale Gas Knowledge Hub is a project undertaken by the Washington & Jefferson College Center for Energy Policy and Management with the funding and support of the Richard King Mellon Foundation. The mission of the Knowledge Hub is to be a source of objective information about shale gas development in southwestern Pennsylvania so that the citizens of the region can better understand the risks and opportunities presented by the development and make informed decisions about it. Regular updates about the activities of the Shale Gas Knowledge Hub are available through their mailing list.

Marcellus Shale Coalition

The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) works with exploration and production, midstream, and supply chain partners in the Appalachian Basin and across the country to address issues regarding the production of American natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays. They provide information to policymakers, regulators, media, and other public stakeholders on the impacts of responsible natural gas production and have numerous information sheets, studies, reports, and presentations on their website. Two Fact Sheets that residents and property owners may find of particular interest are their Pipeline and Midstream Facilities Fact Sheet and their Pipeline Oversight Fact sheet. Click here to visit their website.

First Responder Emergency Response Guidebook

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) developed this Emergency Response Guidebook, to provide first responders with a "go to" manual to help deal with hazmat accidents during the first 30 minutes. Click here to read and download the guide.

FERC Stakeholder Guide

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recognizes that the development of stakeholder outreach programs have become increasingly important, as stakeholders offer valuable insight that can ultimately improve infrastructure projects and meet the public demand for energy. As a result, FERC has issued this industry guidance document to present best practices and to highlight tools that FERC believes can be used to most effectively engage stakeholders in the application process for siting, construction and operation of interstate natural gas facilities. View the document here.