Natural Gas Pipeline Safety

The University is committed to the health and safety of its students, faculty,  staff and community who live in and around the campus. We acknowledge the same responsibility to parents, alumni, and the many other groups who choose to visit our growing campus.

The safe operation and ongoing protection of the University natural gas pipeline is important to senior leadership and a responsibility we take seriously. Natural gas is one of the safest and most useful fuels we have available today, but it requires our ongoing respect and continued vigilance to ensure that it continues to serve our needs in a safe and effective manner.

Leak Response

What to do if you think there is a Leak

Leave the Area!

  • DO NOT try to find the leak.
  • DO NOT use your Cell Phone
  • DO NOT turn lights On or Off
  • DO NOT create fire or try to cause any sparks when leaving.

Recognizing a Natural Gas Leak

Natural gas lines are usually very safe.

How do you sense the presence of natural gas?

  • With your Nose: Natural gas normally has no smell – but a chemical is added that smells like rotten eggs, sulfur or even vinegar – so that if there is a leak everyone knows it is natural gas.
  • With your Ears: A leak in a pressurized gas main will sound like a hissing noise that can range from air leaking out of a tire to a loud roar.
  • With your Eyes: If there is a gas leak, there might be fire coming up out of the ground, dirt blowing in the air or chunks of pipe and debris lying around. A less obvious sign is a large section of dead vegetation, but it’s usually obvious there’s a problem by this point.

If you detect any of these things, leave the area, tell those around you to leave, and call 911 to report the leak.

Call before digging

Arkansas One Call – 811

Arkansas One Call is the statewide government agency in place to protect, prevent and react to pipeline issues. The 811 hotline is there to help prevent natural gas disasters by offering services and information on digging.

You should always call One Call a few days before you dig. Arkansas laws states that the call must be made at least two days before digging and markers set in place to indicate where is safe to dig are only valid for 20 days.

Hand Digging Around Buried Facilities

Call Utility Operations at 479-575-5300 at least two days before you dig. This is a free service that will allow pipeline workers to place markings on the ground indicating where you should and should not dig.

You should also call Arkansas One Call!

Under any circumstance, if you ever see a pipeline exposed while digging, contact the University at the number above. No matter if you think you did or did not do damage to the line, it is imperative that the line be inspected prior to being covered back up. Exposed pipelines are dangerous.

Request UA Natural Gas Pipeline Drawings

To request drawings of the University of Arkansas natural gas pipeline, please call Utility Operations at 479-575-5300 to leave your name, contact information and the organization making the request. Someone with the University will be in touch to make arrangements to get you the information you need.

[Vicinity map of the U of A Pipeline]

Pipeline Identification and Field Markers

Field markers show different information about the pipeline. These are especially important when digging. Call Arkansas One Call if you see anybody digging without proper markers, especially if there is a field marker in place. Areas people have been cleared to dig will be marked, so somebody digging in an unmarked area is a danger to themselves and those around them.

Protect and Prevent

Learn how to stop damage from occurring to underground piping.

Multiple groups and persons have been identified to learn about information that can help ensure the safety of those near the pipeline and the safety of the pipeline itself. Some members of the target community are taught about some different aspects of pipeline safety in order to ensure members of the public are aware of how to protect the community members around the pipeline, prevent damage to the pipeline and pipeline disasters and who to call about the pipeline in different situations.

The campus community is a unique Fayetteville community that needs to know about pipeline safety. Students in dorms effected by the pipeline are taught about pipeline safety, protection and prevention. Fostering awareness of the pipeline in the University of Arkansas campus community helps build safety, protection and prevention awareness.

Surrounding city of Fayetteville areas receive flyers with information about pipeline safety. These flyers contain all the information residents need to know about the pipeline.

[Link to general info brochure]

Public Officials in Fayetteville are being taught about pipeline safety and pipeline issues. They will have knowledge of the pipeline, emergency procedures, pipeline safety and pipeline protection. This ensures that no accidental damage is done to the pipeline and creates an environment of leaders knowledgeable about keeping those around pipelines safe.

[Link to letter and contact list of public officials]

Emergency officials in Fayetteville have been trained in safety procedures and are aware of what to do in case of the rare pipeline emergency. They are trained in Emergency preparedness, leak/damage recognition and response, how to use the National Pipeline Mapping System, have pipeline location information and know the potential hazards of natural gas pipelines.

[Link to information on the March 2016 Table Top Exercise]

Contractors and Excavators in Fayetteville, which are identified as companies and local/state government agencies who are normally engaged in excavation activities and/or land development and planning by the American Petroleum Institute are also taught about damage prevention, leak/damage recognition and response, One Call requirements, pipeline location information, and potential hazards stemming from natural gas pipelines.

The U of A Pipeline

[Vicinity map of the U of A Pipeline]

General Information

Why does the University have a natural gas line?

As a part of the University’s ongoing commitment to meet its sustainability objectives and reduce the campus greenhouse gas footprint, the campus has installed a 5 megawatt natural gas fired turbine generator. By generating about 25% of our campus electricity requirement by burning natural gas in our combustion turbine-generator, the campus will reduce its greenhouse gas footprint by some 30,000 metric tons a year.

The University receives very reliable electric power service from its utility provider, AEP-SWEPCO. In fact, the University of Arkansas campus was one of the few locations in all of northwest Arkansas to have continuous electrical service during the 2009 ice storm. In addition, by having the gas turbine generator, we can provide near uninterruptable power to some of our most critical research infrastructure. One of the requirements for the gas turbine is that it needs a source of high pressure natural gas, and the best way to provide that source was to construct this new gas line.

Where is the high pressure gas line located?

The line starts near the intersection of Nettleship and Eastern Avenue, where Blackhills Energy was able to provide a source of high pressure gas for the University. The line follows a route east down LeRoy Pond Drive, ue where order to provide that

Facts and Figures

  • The pipeline was installed between May and September of 2015
  • It was tested and certified for service in October, 2015
  • It was placed into full operation in February, 2016
  • We receive high pressure natural gas from Black Hills Energy through their Fairview station.

Regulatory & Safety Information

  • Regulatory Classification: Natural Gas Transmission Pipeline
  • Hazard Classification: entire line is designed to Class 4
  • Notification Boundary: 625 feet each side of the pipeline
  • Equipped with automatic line break protection
  • Design Factor of Safety: 6.0

Physical Parameters

  • Pipe Size: 6 inches in diameter
  • Length: 5800 lineal feet
  • Coatings: XX mil epoxy coating on piping with Y mils of abrasive protection jacketing
  • Material: Schedule 40, API X52 carbon steel, 0.258 inch wall pipe
  • Pipeline depth: minimum of 5 feet all locations, up to a depth of 20 feet

Pipeline Design Information

  • Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure (MAOP): 415 psig
  • Design maximum operating pressure: 2400 psig
  • Design Factor of Safety: 6.0