Safe digging is a shared responsibility and calling before you dig is only one part of the safe digging process. Georgia 811 Liaison Manager Mike Bell takes a “fly” along with Plantation Pipeline’s Captain Rick Daniel. Below he shares how one of our Georgia 811 members continues the safe digging process:
As part of last April being recognized by Governor Deal as being safe digging month, I was fortunate enough to ride along with Patrol Pilot Rick Daniel of Barr Air Patrol as he monitored a section of the Plantation Pipeline from the air looking for possible violations.
Plantation Pipe Line Company is one of the largest refined petroleum products pipelines in the United States. It delivers approximately 600,000 barrels per day of gasoline, jet fuel, diesel and biodiesel through its 3,100-mile pipeline network, which originates in Louisiana and ends in the Washington, D.C. area. Along the way it serves various metropolitan areas including Birmingham, Alabama; Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; and the Washington D.C. area. Products come into the Plantation system from nine refineries in Mississippi and Louisiana, from other products pipeline systems, and via marine facilities on the Mississippi River. Products handled consist of motor gasoline, diesel (including biodeisel), kerosene, and commercial and military jet fuels.
Captain Rick walked me through his pre-flight routine as he powered up the 4-seater Cessna and informed me that Barr Air Patrol have been doing Aerial Pipeline Surveillance since 1940. Leaving from Charlie Brown Airport in Fulton County, we reached a cruising speed of around 120 miles per hour. During the 45-minute flight, Pilot Rick explained the procedures for if he saw violations, of excavation too close to the pipeline that needed immediate reporting, and those that could wait until the end of the flight. Along with the miles of pipeline, we circled the Austell Tank Farm substation featured in the picture here.
Captain Rick also showed me the narrow strips of land reserved for the pipeline right-of-way. Above ground marker signs are displayed along the right-of-way to alert the public and contractors to the existence of the underground pipeline.
As we headed back to the airport, the importance of calling Georgia 811 before you dig was echoed by Pilot Rick for not only large commercial projects but small projects done by homeowners as well. This was a great experience and I’d like to thank the folks below for making this possible:
Burney Sproul / Row Technician / Kinder Morgan
Rick Daniel / Pilot / Barr Air Patrol
Greg Reeves / Safety Manager / Barr Air Patrol
Richard Krejci/Wes Melton/Danny Robinson/Shea Morris / Plantation Pipeline