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  1. #1
    Veteran Member jimg's Avatar
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    Default gas line easement

    I'm looking at a piece of property w/ a natural gas pipeline running thru it and wondered if anyone else has one on their land. I've done some poking around the net for info (mostly .gov sites) and have a call in to the owning utility but I'd like to hear some first hand experiences too. My planned use for the land is hay and suspect that won't be an issue. However, that could change in the future to an operation which include deep tillage. It makes sense that the line should be buried deep enough to preclude damage from ag equipment but can't be certain until I talk w/ the utility. I've read that some (unspecified) ag activites can impact the line if it wasn't burined deep enough due to rock. I'm not planning at all to put structures near it or turn the cleared land back to forests (tree farm). So, roots and buildings won't be an concern.

    The other issue that concerns me is line repair/etc that would cause damage to the fields. I understand the utility (is supposed to) puts things back as it was before they did the repairs/etc. Since I'm going to have a specific grass crop planted I would want that to be put back as it was. Are they only on the hook to put any grass in or what was there prior to digging it up? I assuming since I'll maintain the fields (keeping them clear) they won't need to come on the property to do that.

    I'm sure there are plenty of questions and contingencies I haven't though of and would appreciate your input, first hand being best.

  2. #2
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Default Re: gas line easement

    Jim, the first thing I'd want to do is to actually see and read the written easement contract. I'd also want to know what size the gas line is, how deep it is, what kind of pressure they're running, whether it's a local line or cross country, where the shut-off is in the event of an emergency, the phone number to contact in an emergency, how wide of an easement they have, and whether there are any restrictions on what you can do on the property.

    I did leakage surveys for gas companies for a couple of years, and usually, those lines are pretty safe, but even if they bury them deep to start with, over the years errosion may make them much closer to the surface. One place that I was checking for leaks was supposed to have the line 4' deep, but the farmer who owned the land had plowed it up a year or so earlier, and of course, his plow wouldn't have gone more than 16" deep at most. Fortunately, he knew where the nearest shut-off was, promptly killed the engine on his tractor, bailed off, and ran to the shut-off and turned off the gas before calling the gas company.

    I also know of one place where a maintainer (road grader) hit a big LPG line. He, too, promptly shut the machine down, bailed off, and ran. The sudden cold of that LPG hitting that hot machine totalled the machine and it was sheer luck that it didn't ignite.

    I learned that there are tremendous differences in the pressure in those lines. There's one gas line running from the Texas coast to New Jersey and when I was checking for leaks where a local gas company tapped into it, it was running 975 psi. I had no idea until I started doing that job that any of them ran that kind of pressure. I also saw one place where the property owner had already poured a concrete slab foundation to build a garage right on top of the gas line. Of course, he was going to have to tear it up and start over.
    Bird

  3. #3
    Bronze Member Hosskix's Avatar
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    Default Re: gas line easement

    Bird brings up some good points about the safety of farming around lines; and you really want to look at the easement agreement.

    Some agreements I have seen just require the company to repair the line.
    No compensation for the surface damage.
    And several utility trucks and a backhoe can do some sever damage to a hayfield.

    Also, check into remediation efforts in case of a leak.
    Every gas line I've tapped into over the years has fluid in it of some sort, whether it's condensate from the gas or crude oil from inadequate separation systems, there's usually fluid in it.
    And most of the fluids will kill lots of grass. For years.
    Make sure that they will remove contaminated dirt and replace it with new fill in the case of a major repair.

  4. #4
    Elite Member
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    Default Re: gas line easement

    One person I know of was stopped from building a pond which would have flooded over the top of the gas line easment.

  5. #5
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Default Re: gas line easement

    Quote Originally Posted by slowrev
    One person I know of was stopped from building a pond which would have flooded over the top of the gas line easment.
    I would expect that restriction, although one place I was checking for leaks had an 8" line running right under the middle of a good sized pond.
    Bird

  6. #6
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    Default Re: gas line easement

    Need to talk to the gas company before you buy,,they can tell you what size/pressure,how old etc,,,also they got rules,,,and its in writing and thats about it,,,,if your just growing grass or such,,should be any problems,,but if your planning on plowing or something,yeah,problems,,,,there is low pressure and how pressure as bird says,,but one thing he didn't say,is the least of your worries is your machine running off,and blowing up,,if you puncture a big line with high pressure,,you won't need no tractor any mores,,think of balloon popping,,gas lines have about sch 40 pipe,generally,,thats thin,,put pressure in it,,and say its 16 inch pipe,well,4-500 psi in a 16 inch pipe,, blow a **** of a hole.
    But,the gas company would be the people to talk to,,,thingy

  7. #7
    Super Star Member EddieWalker's Avatar
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    Default Re: gas line easement

    I used to own some land with two gas lines crossing it. No big deal since the provided good access to the land. When I bought it, I was told the gas lines were burried a minimum of four feet and most were 6 feet deep. OK, that sounded good to me.

    After I owned the land awhile I wanted to cross the pipe with an electrical line. I called to have it marked and when the guy was out there, I asked him how deep the line was. He said that nobody has any idea how deep the lines are. They were installed by contractors who bid the entire job from point A to point B and the faster they got it in, the better there profits.

    Unfortunately, allot of them were never inspected and the contractors were able to put the pipe in the ground fairly shallow. Sometimes just a foot down.

    A few years ago a guy was ascraping the grass off the ground on his land with a track loader and he hit a pipe. The preasure was so much that it moved the track loader. I don't remember what sized machine it was, but just the fact that it moved it scared me really good!!!!

    Rule number one, NEVER TRUST THEM when they tell you how deep the pipe is. Nobody knows for sure and anything they say is just what it's "SUPPOSED" to be. Not fact.

    Good luck,
    Eddie

  8. #8
    Veteran Member Dusty's Avatar
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    Default Re: gas line easement

    What color should the pipe be ?
    I'll be the last one to let you down.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: gas line easement

    Along with a phone call to the gas company, take a look into the deeds of the properties, they should shed some light on your questions. Rockie Montain Express is running a line, 42" I believe, across the mid-west. They are trying to use existing easements so they don't have to purchase more land from landowners. They are proposing doing as deep as 16' in some areas. I attended one meeting and found it doesn't pertain to any property we own, so I haven't been following it close. I feel you can't research the gas lines enough.

    Good Luck.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member jimg's Avatar
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    Default Re: gas line easement

    Hmmmm...pretty interesting stuff. I planned to talk w/ the utility company anyway and have a long list of questions which is now even longer. I hadnt planned on looking at the easement docs but now I suppose I'll do that as well. I'll venture a guess that I won;t be able to read and understand the easement docs w/o a lawyer...rigt? Today when I asked the realtor about the line he didn't have too much to say other than he didn't think it was a big issue....but he really didn't know too much about them.

    Is there any means to determine the depth of the line w/o digging it up? Seems there should be.

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