Yellow warning signs mark Hawaiian Electric pipelines
by Michael Choe | April 13, 2022
Every now and then I’ll venture out of town and visit the west side of Oahu. In some areas I’ve spotted yellow “WARNING” signs, but never knew why they were posted. Recently, I went on a tour with Hawaiian Electric Fuels Infrastructure Department Manager Derek Sato, who told me exactly what those signs are for and their importance.
Between the Kahe and Waiau power plants are two separate Hawaiian Electric pipelines miles long that transport fuel used to generate power. These pipelines, although buried, can be damaged by activities such as excavation and signpost installations, that would be problematic. Fortunately, our pipelines are marked with square, yellow signs along the entire route. These square signs are labeled “Hawaiian Electric” so that they aren’t confused with other pipelines owned by different pipeline operators. They’re strategically placed so that from one sign you’re able to see the previous and next two signs.
These signs play more of a role than just marking the pipes. It’s important for residents who live along the lines to know the letter and number combination in the top right corner (for example, “W53” in the image above). When reporting an incident concerning our pipelines, such as a leak or unpermitted excavation activities, call the emergency number on the sign and provide the Hawaiian Electric representative the letter and number combination. That will help our pipeline crews quickly identify the specific location along the pipeline.
To prevent any unexpected issue with underground pipelines, it’s critical to call 8–1–1 before starting any project that involves digging or excavation. Doing so can help avoid damage to the surrounding area and to the company’s pipelines.
Michael Choe is a digital communications and social media specialist at Hawaiian Electric.