how deep are gas lines buried

Subterranean pipelines transport natural energy, like CO2, methane, and liquid fuel to vital infrastructure. Installing them below ground prevents weathering and impact damage that may cause fossil fuels to pollute the surrounding environment. You may wonder, “How deep are gas lines buried?”

Partnering with a plumbing expert in Cedar City, Utah can help you understand gas line infrastructure and access repairs when you need them.

Consider the information below, then call Iron Mountain Plumbing at 435-500-2576 to schedule a gas line service consultation.

Gas Pipeline Basics

Underground natural gas lines eliminate the need for trucks or other risky transportation methods when moving combustible fossil fuels. Professional installation technicians use industrial drilling technology to excavate the earth and secure miles of piping for improved efficiency and access. Most gas pipes consist of durable metals, like steel and copper, to prevent leaks or bursts while under pressure.

Gas pipelines typically connect to municipal facilities that monitor pressure levels during operation. Powerful turbines and other mechanical regulators allow engineers to adjust the flow of fossil fuels corresponding to external conditions, like during seasonal changes or maintenance.

Some pipelines operate just a few feet below the service, while others operate at around 100 feet. Liquid fossil fuels typically require deeper service lines.

How Deep Do Technicians Bury Gas Lines?

Engineers do not install gas pipelines the same way in every part of the country. Local laws and regulations determine how deep a company can bury their pipes. Still, most engineers recommend laying gas lines at least a foot and a half below the earth’s surface for optimal protection.

In some states, like California, all gas lines must be at least 18 inches deep. In New Jersey, they must be at least 24 inches deep. 

Gas lines buried in commercial or residential neighborhoods typically perform best at shallow depths. This method allows technicians to service them quickly if they sustain damage during earthquakes or from bioturbation.

Engineers must replace service lines every few decades to prevent harmful pollutants from seeping into the soil. That is why many companies install their most durable pipes dozens of feet into the ground to avoid early replacements.

Factors to Consider When Burying a Gas Line

You may ask, “How deep are gas lines buried?” because you are planning a construction project. Consider a few factors before you start placing pipes.

Gas pipes will corrode over time. High-pressure caused by shifting soil and pest activity can hasten this process. That is why investing in superior-grade pipe lining is essential for preventing surprise explosions or leaks.

Some city ordinances also dictate the type of pipes you can bury, so be sure to purchase the right material for the job. Only rely on licensed and insured professionals to excavate and bury gas pipelines. Mistakes during the installation process can lead to devastating ecological disasters.

You should bury your gas lines corresponding to the surrounding geography and buildings. In other words, the layout of your gas lines must accommodate future construction projects and adhere to conservation guidelines. 

Locating Buried Gas Lines

Many engineers use surveying equipment to locate existing or decommissioned gas pipelines before excavation. Light detection and ranging (LIDAR) and ground penetrating radars are the most common tools for surveying. Some city archives may also provide maps and blueprints of previous installations to verify excavation zones. 

It’s important not to dig test trenches to find existing gas lines. Accidently puncturing an operational gas line can result in injuries or property damage. Ask a reputable plumbing technician if you need to locate a gas line — they will do the hard work for you.

How Can You Avoid Digging Into a Gas Line?

If you are planning a residential or commercial addition that requires extensive excavations, caution is essential. You must hire a professional to dig around gas lines without causing damage to existing infrastructure. These engineers will also have the industry expertise to identify hazardous situations, like gas leaks or liquid spills, before they have a chance to compromise your health. 

Never attempt a DIY excavation without the right tools and knowledge. Causing damage to a gas pipeline on private or public property can result in hefty fines and lawsuits.

What Type of Damage Can a Gas Line Sustain?

Subterranean gas lines are safe from most forms of external impact damage, including hail, lightning, and vandalism. However, they can still be susceptible to damage from soil pressure, animals burrowing or chewing at pipe joints, and natural disasters.

Floods are a major cause for concern. They can create unstable soil conditions that cause the pipes to shift and snap. Earthquakes can also expose shallow pipes to above-ground risks.

Fixing an Underground Gas Line

Having an answer to the question, “How deep are gas lines buried?” is essential before attempting repairs. Fixing a subterranean gas line can be expensive and time consuming. That is why only the most experienced contractors, like those at Iron Mountain Plumbing, should handle routine maintenance.

Most contractors inspect gas lines several times a year to prevent explosions or ground contamination. They use modern tools and adhesives to patch holes, replace corroded sections of the pipe, and install repair sleeves.

Professional engineers may need to replace several meters of a gas line toward the end of its service life. This task can require large scale excavations and several workers to complete safely. 

If you suspect that a nearby gas line has a leak or is at risk of combustion, call 911 immediately. Clear the area and do not attempt repairs yourself.

Call the Plumbing Experts for Superior Gas Line Installation and Repair

Finding a reliable contractor to provide gas line services doesn’t need to be a hassle. At Iron Mountain Plumbing, we have all the tools and equipment we need to handle your project without delay. You can explore numerous gas line repair and installation options when you partner with our veteran crew.

We also offer additional plumbing services, such as water heater repairs and drain cleaning.

How deep are gas lines buried? Learn more from Iron Mountain Plumbing in Cedar City, Utah. Schedule a consultation at 435-500-2576.

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