Safety and the Environment

Ways NW Natural plans and builds pipelines with safety and environment as top priorities.

At NW Natural, we like to say, “We grew up here.” That’s because we’ve been serving customers in the Northwest for more than 155 years. And because we live and work in the communities we serve, we are invested in the health and safety of the Pacific Northwest. We hold ourselves to the highest standards of pipeline safety and environmental protection.

Here are some of the ways we plan and build pipelines to ensure the safety of our customers, property owners, the public and the environment.

Safety

When NW Natural builds a pipeline, we always:

  • Build to or beyond safety regulations.
  • Continuously monitor the pipeline after construction using sophisticated technology and personal inspections in compliance with strict federal standards.

NW Natural was one of the first gas utilities in the nation to completely remove cast iron pipes from its system. By the end of 2015, we will have replaced the remaining few miles of bare steel pipeline in our system with pipelines of modern, corrosive-resistant materials. Many gas utilities across the country are just beginning the intensive work of replacing their older pipelines. This is just one example of NW Natural’s far-sighted approach to pipeline safety.

Pipelines and farmland co-exist well

NW Natural works closely with farmers and other property owners to minimize impacts on farmland. Highly qualified agricultural consultants who understand Oregon farmland will advise on the project through and beyond the construction phase. Their job is to make sure farmland is returned to its pre-construction quality – or better.

  • Farmers can continue to plant almost all crops over pipelines.
  • Organic farms can continue to operate with pipelines on the property.
  • In most cases, land is restored and ready for cultivation within months of construction.
  • The companies compensate property owners fairly for any land impacted during or after construction.

CrimsonField

The white line shows where a large pipeline built by NW Natural in 2004 – the South Mist Pipeline Extension – runs below this Washington County field.

Forestland

Northwest forests are among the most valuable resources in the Pacific Northwest – for the habitat they offer; for their role in preventing erosion and maintaining the health of waterways; for their beauty; for the sanctuary they provide humans, as well as other animals; and simply for their unique presence.

NW Nature shares the appreciation of this value with others in the Pacific Northwest. It routes pipelines through Oregon forests only when there are no other feasible alternatives. And when necessary to build in a forest, the company uses the most responsible construction techniques, working closely with regulators, wildlife biologists and other environmental specialists.

SouthMist

These scenes show how responsible practices leave no visible evidence of pipeline construction and restore fields to their former productivity.