We are trying to build a home on an empty lot. There is an abandoned 6" gas pipeline running through where we are able to build it. We've done a lot of work to understand the history of this pipeline already. It was originally a gas pipeline but was sold to a telecom company a few decades ago. It eventually changed hands to Verizon after several companies had been bought. We worked with Verizon and they agreed to terminate the right of way around the pipe, because they are not using it, and saw no future economic use for it. We thought we were good to go, but no contractor will touch this pipe with a ten foot pole. They say the same thing, get someone else to make the initial cut, then I'll remove it.

Verizon cut into the line 1-2 miles away from our lot to redirect the telecom wires to another conduit that already existed. That is why they no longer needed it. So we know that this thing is not pressurized with gas. But I need a way to prove it to the contractors. Is there any sort of service that can test for gas in pipes and prove they are decommissioned/abandoned?

  • 6
    First make sure you have everything in writing about the line/easement/right of way and have it removed from the land. For the pipe itself, maybe a local gas company can help, but I don't blame the others for not wanting to touch it. Gas plus spark makes for a bad day, even just cutting empty barrels can be bad.
    – crip659
    Commented Mar 26 at 16:12
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    How convinced are you that the line is truly empty of gas? If a few holes "magically" appeared in the pipe one day would the contractor be OK with pulling the rest? How much excitement are you prepared to deal with if the pipe is not empty of gas?
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Mar 26 at 16:12
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    Are you willing to risk your life/limbs to test show the contractor that the pipe is not used?
    – Questor
    Commented Mar 26 at 16:37
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    @JonCuster Flumes can last for a long time. Old empty fuel containers need special handling before cutting into. Was a story years ago about a student cutting an empty peppermint oil barrel. It was did not end well. This is a job for a gas pro with license and insurance.
    – crip659
    Commented Mar 26 at 18:26
  • 1
    @crip659 - yup. indeed. Old silane (pyrophoric) high purity stainless piping would retain enough silane on the interior surfaces to make some pretty good jets of flame out the ends if, e.g., bent or dropped. Disilane only made it more exciting.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Mar 26 at 18:28


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