Tom Casey continuously fields calls and e-mails from anxious people asking about pipeline projects and safety, and the meaning of a right of way.
So Casey, of West Goshen, who helped start the Chester County Community Coalition to spread information about pipelines, turns to the county's online Pipeline Information Center.
Fortunately for Casey and others interested, Chester County officials recently got a $50,000 federal grant to add information to the website and to name a point of contact to increase information-sharing among residents, municipalities, and pipeline companies.
The website - www.landscapes2.org/pipeline/pipelinemain.cfm - features pipeline safety information, operators' phone numbers, and interactive maps that show pipelines in Chester County, which has the third-highest percentage of pipelines in Pennsylvania.
"It's very helpful. We use it constantly," Casey said. "I would love to see other counties do this."
That is the plan.
Chester County's website is the beginning of a strategy to get every county in Pennsylvania to adopt protocols for improving communication about pipelines. Officials in a handful of counties across the state have already said they were interested.
Since Chester County's website launched in March, Lynda Farrell, president of the nonprofit Pipeline Safety Coalition, has been using it as a model to encourage Pennsylvania's 66 other counties.
"Counties across the state should be able to tweak the protocol to what fits their geography and their locale best," said Farrell, who secured a previous grant that helped start Chester County's Pipeline Information Center.
Chester County residents, environmental groups, and real estate agents are among those who use the county site.
In the next month or so, Farrell's group plans to help counties apply for grants from the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
County officials heard about Chester County's approach at an August gathering of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania.
"The counties who attended that session were extremely encouraged by what Chester County had done and the framework they were able to share," said Lisa Schaefer, the association's director of government relations.
Raymond Stolinas, planning director for Bradford County, said his office had been closely watching Chester County's website.
"We're very impressed with that," he said, "and we'd like to replicate some of that if we could."
But his office is small. It would need someone to maintain the pipeline information system.
Since 2008, Bradford County has been compiling and mapping information about natural gas facilities. Stolinas said the next step would be to make the information more up to date and interactive, like in Chester County.
Officials in Chester County hope to finish most of their site's upgrades by early 2015. They are adding information on current pipeline projects in the county and details to the maps, a popular feature among residents.
The county also plans to add pipeline safety and landowners' guide Web pages and a public comment section.
"Although it's not perfect yet, it's better than pretty much anything anyone else has," said Carol Stauffer, of the Planning Commission.
Chester County appointed Stauffer in September to be the point of contact to share information with municipalities, landowners, pipeline operators, and county, state, and federal agencies.
Lebanon County officials recognize they will receive more proposals from pipeline companies in coming years.
That is why Jo Ellen Litz, a Lebanon County commissioner, is asking the planning commission to look into developing its own protocol for gathering and disseminating pipeline information.
"I think that anytime we're transparent and we're working together," she said, "it's a good thing, not just for Lebanon County, but for the state as a whole."