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Pipelines & rights of way

For rights-of-way information, examples of pipeline warning signs.

If pipeline will be within 30 metres of our equipment or ROW, you'll need our approval

Any pipeline works proposed within 30 metres of BC Hydro power lines,facilities or ROW require that you submit to us a detailed proposal for review.

Installation and operation of the pipeline must be in accordance with CAN/CSA-22.3 No. 6 - Principles and Practices of Electrical Coordination between Pipelines and Electrical Supply Lines.

Pipelines must not make it more difficult for us to access, maintain and operate our power lines or other works. Permanent crossing options within or across access roads and tracks may need to be provided.

It’s best if non-metallic piping can be used for the installation within the ROW. A ground fault between a metal/ductile iron pipe and any of our works could transfer dangerous levels of electricity to the pipe.

Marking and identifying pipelines

To mark the location of a buried pipeline, regulations sometimes call for a tracer wire to be installed. However, a tracer wire poses safety and reliability issues when close to electrical infrastructure, as it’s hardly any different than a metallic pipeline in the ground. The safer option when near a power line is to use an electronic identification marker.

Be aware of recommended safe distances, which vary by power line voltage, away from power lines. The limits are in place to allow us to maintain our works, but also to prevent arcing to a pipeline or tracer wire due to a power line fault.

Special cases and considerations

In general, the minimum distance between pipelines and power lines to prevent arcing is 30 metres, based on average lightning currents and conditions in B.C. For us to agree to reduce the minimum separation, a soil resistivity test will need to be performed at the specific location. This test analysis must be reviewed and accepted by us, and signed by a Professional Engineer registered in B.C.

We understand that placing limitations such as a 30 metres separation in built-up areas can be challenging for you. That’s why our studies will consider the shielding effect of buildings, trees, etc., as we decide whether to reduce that minimum separation distance in your proposal.

Unless a study is completed and a change approved, we still require a minimum of 30 metres separation. Non-compliance with this requirement can result in damage to pipelines and/or injury or death, for which BC Hydro can’t accept responsibility.

For more information, please contact us at or 1 800 667 1517 or 604 623 3637.