What is a farm tap?
A farm tap is a private natural gas line along with the associated facilities downstream of the meter that are owned by the landowner. These facilities include the odorizer and gas fuel line from the outlet of the meter (usually located close to the interstate pipeline) to the house or other buildings on the property. Below are some examples of what a farm tap might look like:
Farm tap customers are responsible for assuring that all piping and materials used to transport natural gas from the meter to a home and/or other buildings adhere to the International Fuel Gas Code and are operating safely. Leaks and defective equipment can result in damage to property, personal injury or death and larger-than-necessary fuel bills.
Minnesota Energy Resources inspects all farm taps annually and performs a limited leak survey on them every five years. We also conduct random odorizer checks to monitor farm taps. There is no added charge for these safety checks.
What could happen if there is a leak?
Failure to detect and repair leaks on your fuel line and equipment could result in property damage, personal injury or death. If leaks are not properly repaired in a timely manner, this will result in higher fuel costs to the customer. Finally, farm tap customers may be held liable for property damage, injury or death caused by problems with a customer-owned fuel line or equipment.
How do I know if I have a natural gas leak?
Signs of a natural gas leak include:
- Areas of dead vegetation directly above the buried piping.
- A meter dial that continues to move after all gas appliances and equipment have been shut off.
- Unexplained sudden increase in natural gas consumption.
- Distinct natural gas odor.
If the natural gas line is not installed or maintained properly, it is possible there may not be any clear indications of a natural gas leak, which is why it is extremely important that farm taps are maintained and monitored.
What if a leak is found?
If a leak is discovered during our inspection, the owner or tenant will be immediately notified and given the location of the leak. If the leak represents a dangerous hazard to person or property, the gas service will be turned off and not restored until a proper repair or line replacement has been made. If you suspect there is a natural gas leak in your piping, please contact us immediately at 800-889-4970. We will investigate potential leaks at no charge, 24 hours a day.
How do I locate buried piping?
If you are planning a project that involves digging, state law requires you to notify Gopher State One Call at least two working days in advance. Any excavation within 24 inches of the buried piping must be done by hand. You can call 811 for assistance in locating utility-owned underground piping in the area. However, this does not include locating your fuel line beyond the public right of way. We can only locate Minnesota Energy Resources’ utilities and customer-owned (farm tap) piping that is located in the public right of way. The customer is responsible for knowing the location of any natural gas pipelines installed and/or owned by the customer.
Who can do the maintenance for me?
Customers may choose to have repairs, replacements or maintenance performed by any qualified contractor. Proper construction of buried piping is also critical for operational safety. Only approved installation practices and materials may be used. All construction must adhere to International Fuel Gas Code.
Farm tap project
In October 2021, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved a farm tap project proposed by Minnesota Energy Resources. The project will lessen the safety risks associated with continued service to farm tap customers within one mile of our distribution system. You can find more information on this project here.