During the course of construction projects, you or your clients may be asked to prepare special surveys for the construction of pipelines, roads, valve sites or other routes, areas and sites on CenterPoint Energy's fee and easement land.
- What is right-of-way?
A right-of-way is a strip of land where some of the property owner's legal rights have been granted to a utility company. A right-of-way agreement between a company and a property owner is also called an easement and is usually filed in public records with property deeds. The right-of-way or easement enables a utility company to operate, inspect, repair, maintain or replace pipeline(s) and/or electrical facilities on property owned by others.
CenterPoint Energy's rights-of-way vary in width, depending on the number and size/diameter of pipeline(s) and/or electrical facilities, terrain and/or terms of the original agreement. Rights-of-way should be kept free of structures and other physical obstructions. Landowners/tenants should not plant trees on a right-of-way.Always call 811 to alert your state's local One Call Center before digging on or near the right-of-way so underground utilities can be located and marked.Do not store or place anything on the right-of-way without first consulting CenterPoint Energy's Encroachment personnel, which may include having company personnel locate the pipeline, mark the right-of-way location and/or explain the property development guidelines to you.
- Right of way clearing for public safety
CenterPoint Energy periodically clears rights-of-way for public safety purposes and to comply with federal law. This mainly consists of vegetation management such as mowing, tree trimming and ground clearing, which allows for:Emergency Response Access: Clear access to the pipeline and/or electrical facilities allows for prompt response in the event of an emergency.Corrosion Protection: Tree roots can wrap around a pipeline, damaging the protective coating of the pipeline.Routine Maintenance Access: Clear access to pipeline(s) and/or electrical facilities is critical to completing required maintenance in a safe, efficient and effective manner.Third-Party Damage Prevention: A clear pathway provides a visual corridor so pipeline(s) and/or electrical facilities can be defended from unauthorized excavation and development.Aerial Surveillance Routine: aerial patrols are used to detect threatening excavation activities in the rights-of-way and/or leakage along the pipeline.
- General guidelines to keep right of way clear
Driveways or Roads
May be permitted to cross and parallel CenterPoint Energy pipeline(s) or infrastructure. Remaining ground cover (dirt, rocks, etc.) over the pipeline(s) must be at least 48 inches and should cross at as close to 90 degrees as possible.Landscaping
No bushes, shrubbery or other plants associated with landscaping should be planted within a private easement that would interfere with access to company infrastructure. Small bushes and shrubbery with a mature height no greater than 4 feet may be planted within the easement if planted greater than 10 feet from the pipeline.Fencing
Fences are permitted as long as they do not cause an operation or maintenance problem, interfere with walking surveys or shield any section of the right-of-way from visual inspection. Unlocked gates and/or double locked gates are required to allow access to the right-of-way.Drainage
Open ditches are discouraged. A ditch crossing will be at near right angles with at least 36 inches of ground cover (48 inches of cover for a transmission pipeline) at the lowest point of the ditch. Drainage tile crossing of pipelines is permitted. It must be continuous from 15 feet either side of the centerline of the pipeline, and a minimum of 18 inches must be maintained between the proposed drainage tile and the pipeline.Septic systems
All sewer lines, septic lines or finger systems crossing a pipeline must be made of solid impervious material across the entire easement. A solid septic line or sewer line can be placed no closer to the pipeline than 2 feet vertically crossing the pipeline or 7 feet horizontally paralleling the pipeline. Leach beds are not allowed to be placed in the easement. Mound-type septic systems are also not allowed.Permanent structures
Any building or other installation that is permanent in nature and cannot readily be removed or relocated is considered a structure and may not be located in the easement.
*Landowners may have different right-of-way clearances, based on the original agreement with CenterPoint Energy. Always refer to your specific agreement for exact measures.
**all examples listed above must be reviewed and formally approved by CenterPoint Energy Encroachment personnel through the Consent to Encroachment Application process prior to construction
- What is encroachment?
An encroachment, generally speaking, is anything that is placed into a right-of-way contrary to the terms of the easement. Typically, CenterPoint Energy allows the property owner to use the easement area within certain guidelines**. These guidelines generally allow the property owner to continue with any agricultural, recreational or other activities that pose no problem or threat to the long-term integrity of pipeline(s) and/or electrical facilities.
Examples of encroachment activities that are not acceptable may include, but are not limited to:Permanent facilities associated with adjacent commercial or residential developmentsPlanting trees or other landscapingSwimming poolsPatiosSprinkler systemsStreet or road crossingsHeavy equipment crossingsUtility crossingsIncreasing or decreasing the amount of soil coverageBlasting or use of explosives in the vicinity of CenterPoint Energy facilities
To ensure that what you are proposing to build or construct on your property is not within the easement and assures the integrity of the pipeline, contact CenterPoint Energy at 317-718-3606.
**Encroachments must be reviewed and formally approved by CenterPoint Energy Encroachment personnel through the Consent to Encroachment Application process prior to construction
- Applications for easement and encroachments
Below is a set of application forms to help you meet the requirements for obtaining easements and encroachments.
Read our Encroachment Brochure for more details and safety guidelines, or email us for further information.
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