As part of New Mexico Gas Company’s emergency response plans, specific information is provided to local public officials on pipeline safety and on our emergency response plans. Our emergency response plans are designed to prepare local emergency responders and New Mexico Gas Company personnel to handle natural gas emergencies, such as a fire, leak, rupture or other serious incident occurring along our pipeline system and at or near any of our facilities.
Pipelines distributing natural gas to individual homes and businesses run under streets, sidewalks and yards across the communities New Mexico Gas Company serves. These smaller distribution lines can be only a few inches below ground due to erosion, landscaping and other activities. In contrast, larger and higher-pressure transmission pipelines that transport gas from suppliers to communities can be affected by activities such as farming, construction and new housing development.
Natural gas doesn’t ignite or explode unless there is a source of ignition. This can occur only under two simultaneous circumstances:
- the natural gas must be present in a concentration of 4 to 14 percent relative to the air
- the natural gas must come in contact with an ignition source that is 850 degrees Fahrenheit or more.
Natural gas is non-toxic and cannot cause you to become sick, unless the gas is in such high concentrations that you cannot get enough oxygen to breathe. Because natural gas is lighter than air, when it is released, it rises and dissipates harmlessly into the atmosphere.
As part of our comprehensive safety program, we work closely with the communities along our pipelines to educate our neighbors about pipelines and pipeline safety. Cooperation from local organizations is key to these safety plans. We hold public awareness meetings, “Call Before You Dig” programs, install pipeline markers and provide other community messages. New Mexico Gas Company can also perform emergency drills, upon request, to prepare your communities and emergency responders. If you are a public official and would like more information, please contact New Mexico Gas Company at (505) 697-3518.
Pipelines in Your Area of Jurisdiction
If there are New Mexico Gas Company customers in your community, gas pipelines could lead up to every home and business. Providing maps for those facilities here is not possible, but to learn where distribution gas pipelines exist in your community, use NM811, “Call Before You Dig” telephone number Call 811.
Within two business days, at no charge, New Mexico Gas Company will go to the areas in question and mark thelocation of our pipelines.
There are several other ways you can get additional information:
New Mexico Gas Company operations hold meetings throughout the state with public officials to inform them about our operations. If you are interested in finding out more about this program or in attending a meeting, contact James Stanovcak at (505) 697-3518.
Mr. Stanovcak can also provide more detailed information for public officials on natural gas pipelines, public safety, pipeline integrity management program issues, emergency preparedness, public awareness and land use practices.
For a copy of New Mexico Gas Company's brochure, "Pipeline Safety in Your Community," in English and Spanish, a pdf copy may be downloaded here.
- For more information about New Mexico Gas Company pipelines that cross your area of jurisdiction, you may register for free access to New Mexico Gas Company transmission gas pipeline locations at the National Pipeline Mapping System at www.npms.phmsa.dot.gov/.
Land Use Practices Affect Community Safety
New Mexico Gas Company right-of-way agreements specify what activities may be done within the rights-of-way boundaries and protects both New Mexico Gas Company and the property owner. Rights-of-way must be kept free from structures and other obstructions to allow access to the pipeline for maintenance, as well as in the event of an emergency. New Mexico Gas Company performs frequent inspections to minimize the risk of hazardous actions by others. Please have New Mexico Gas Company mark the pipeline and explain the company’s construction guidelines before:
- planting trees or tall shrubs on the right-of-way
- digging, building, storing, or placing anything on or near the right-of-way