Landowner Primer

What is an Easement

An easement is the right to use the real property of another without possessing it. Easements are helpful for providing pathways across two or more pieces of property.  The rights of an easement holder vary substantially among jurisdictions. An easement of way is also referred to as a Right of Way Easement. 

Right of Way (ROW) Types

Pipelines are buried in a Permanent Right of Way (ROW) under a strip of land, below creeks, rivers, highways, roads, farmers’ fields, parks, and may be close to homes, businesses, schools or other community centers.   ROWs are obtained by written agreement between a landowner and pipeline companies or by eminent domain.  ROWs provide sufficient space to locate a pipeline, perform maintenance and inspections.   

Depending on the size of the pipe and pipeline system needs, ROWs may vary from 25 feet to 150 feet wide or more.  The length of the area being crossed depends on the destination point.     

There are two types of ROW:

1.  Permanent ROW:  Permanent right-of-ways remain as long as the pipeline remains active and are maintained as “clear zones” therefore trees, temporary and/or permanent structures are prohibited in order to:

  • Enable workers to gain access for inspection, maintenance, testing or emergencies.
  • Maintain an unobstructed view for frequent aerial surveillance.
  • Identify an area that restricts certain activities to protect the landowner, the community through which the pipeline passes and the pipeline itself.  

Pipeline markers are permanently placed at intervals along the ROW to show the approximate location of buried pipelines.    

Any excavation project within the right-of-way or near the right-of-way, requires the landowner or excavator to contact the local pipeline and make a One Call.

Landowners maintain possession of their property in the ROW, continue to pay full property tax and insurance payment requirements, but relinquish personal land use rights within the Right of Way.  

2.  Temporary ROW:  The temporary ROW is outside the boundaries of the Permanent ROW.  Typically needed for working space during construction, the size and longevity of the temporary easement vary depending on the pipeline system needs.  Average Temporary ROW requests are 50 feet wide, may be wider or narrower, and grant removal of trees, earth and all obstructions to pipeline construction.

What is a Pipeline ROW Easement

A Pipeline Right of Way Easement or ROW Easement consists of consecutive private property easements acquired by, or granted to, the pipeline company to construct and maintain pipelines on consecutive private property easements to transport hazardous liquid and natural gas from source to consumer.