Emergency Information

Recognizing a Leak

Although pipeline leaks are uncommon, it is important to be able to recognize the warning signs. Sight, smell and sound are the common ways to recognize a possible pipeline leak. Note: All of these signs may not occur at the same time.


  • A dense white cloud or fog
  • Discolored or dead vegetation
  • Flames coming from the ground or an exposed pipeline valve
  • A mist of ice or frozen area on a ROW
  • A pool of liquid on the ground
  • Continuous bubbling in a wet flooded area
  • Dirt being blown or appearing to be thrown in the air
  • A rainbow or sheen on the water


  • An unusual odor or scent of gas or petroleum – Natural gas is primarily odorless in gathering and transmission pipelines until a pungent smell (mercaptan) is added prior to local distribution


  • An unusual hissing or roaring noise coming from a pipeline

What To Do If A Leakage Occurs

  • Turn off and abandon any motorized equipment
  • Evacuate the area quickly and cautiously by walking into the wind, away from possibly hazardous fumes
  • Warn others to clear the area
  • Call 911, your local fire or police department and the pipeline operator (or 811 if the operator is not known) once you have reached a safe location
  • Do not touch, inhale or make contact with leaking liquids or gas
  • Do not use open flames or anything that could ignite a spark (cell phones, flashlights, motor vehicles, tools, etc.)
  • Do not attempt to extinguish a natural gas fire
  • Do not attempt to operate a pipeline valves. Wait for an authorized representative from the pipeline operator.