Pipelines - FAQs

The pipeline may be going through my property. What will the impacts be?

Northern Water will work individually with each landowner to learn additional information about the current use of the land and explain the easement acquisition and compensation process. The impacts during construction will be limited to agreed upon easement area and terms. It is anticipated that a 60-foot wide permanent easement is required, along with a 40-foot wide construction easement.

How long will my property be impacted, and how will it be restored?

Construction crews can typically install 200 to 500 feet of pipe per day. Each property will have a specific remediation plan developed and implemented after installation of the pipeline. A specialized remediation contractor will replace the property to pre-construction conditions. The timeline for the remediation plan will vary by property, season and length of pipeline installation within the property.

How big and deep is the pipeline?

The pipeline is anticipated to be 48 inches in diameter, but exact sizing and will depend on location, hydraulic conditions, and requirements of the NISP participants. The typical installation depth will be 5 feet. This means from the ground to the top of the pipeline will be 5 feet of backfill and soil. This installation depth will vary depending on design factors such as soil conditions, existing utilities, future site plans, etc.

What roads will be impacted by construction and when?

In some locations, the pipeline may be placed in or near the roadway or cross a roadway. Roadways may also be used for construction access. A detailed construction plan will be developed for all work within and near roadways. Access for property owners, emergency personnel and others will be maintained during construction.

How can I tell when and where the pipeline is installed?

After installation of the pipeline, the ground is fully restored to its original condition. Pipeline markers and signs will designate the underground location of the buried pipe. The markers will typically be blue in color and include the phone number of who to call for information on the pipeline, or to report any emergency. Markers are placed at bends in the pipeline, roadway and utility crossings, property lines, etc.

How safe will the pipeline be? 

The pipeline will be very safe and built to industry standards. Operating at various pressures typically between 100 to 250 pounds per square inch, engineered steel will be used to construct the pipe, and it will be designed to withstand any transient pressures and surges that could occur within the line. The pipeline will be subject to a series of quality control checks, hydrostatically tested to a pressure above the operating pressure, installed to protect other utilities, avoid hazards and safeguard surrounding property. In addition to being made from high-strength steel, the pipeline will be protected from corrosion through a cathodic protection system that is continuously monitored. In the unlikely event that a leak develops in the pipeline, a shut down will automatically be triggered.

When will final design and construction of the project begin?

NISP is currently going through federal, state and local permitting processes. The timeline of construction is dependent upon the permitting processes, coordination with other utilities and municipalities and availability of funding.

Restoration after a pipeline installation

Utilizing the Pipeline Easement After Construction

Following construction, the landowner will be able to utilize the easement with some restrictions. The construction zone will be restored as closely as possible to the prior condition of the property, including the restoration of landscaping, fencing and access roads that do not interfere with the operation of the pipeline. 

A portion of the easement will be in agricultural areas, and the easement could continue to be utilized for those purposes. However, there are certain uses of the easement that are incompatible with a pipeline. These include:

  • Construction of permanent structures.
  • Planting of trees or deep-rooted shrubs whose roots could come in contact with the pipeline. Landscaping plans within the permanent easement will require the approval of Northern Water.
  • Construction of a traffic arterial that would exceed the permissible loading on the pipe.
  • Permanent fencing that would significantly interfere with pipeline maintenance (barbed-wire fencing is acceptable).