Natural Gas Safety
As your neighbors and a part of your community, we know the importance for everyone to be well informed and know how to respond in case of a Natural Gas emergency.
Most Natural Gas pipelines are buried underground. This is not only for safety reasons, but also to protect them from the weather and ensure reliable service for all consumers. Although pipeline leaks and incidents rarely occur, keeping the delivery of Natural Gas safe for everyone remains our highest priority.
In your area, we work closely with public fire and safety officials to promote Natural Gas safety. Damage-prevention education and training takes place at least once a year to ensure local officials are prepared to respond if there ever is a Natural Gas emergency.
Natural Gas utility companies like ours set high standards to keep Natural Gas pipelines incident-free. The Natural Gas industry invests billions of dollars in research, testing, damage prevention, training and awareness to ensure pipeline safety. The Natural Gas pipeline system is regulated by numerous federal and state government agencies.
Detecting A Natural Gas Leak
Natural Gas is one of the safest, most reliable and environmentally friendly fuels in use today, but leaks can occur. There are three key ways to recognize a Natural Gas leak:
- Look – Blowing dirt, bubbling creeks or ponds, dry spots in moist areas or dead plants surrounded by green, live plants also may indicate a Natural Gas leak.
- Listen – An unusual hissing sound near gas lines or appliances may indicate a Natural Gas leak.
- Smell – In its raw state, Natural Gas is colorless and odorless. Natural Gas utility companies include an additive called ethyl mercaptan to create the familiar rotten-egg like odor associated with Natural Gas. You should take action even if you detect only the faint odor of Natural Gas in the air.
Take Action For Safety
Here are some keywords to help you remember what to do if a Natural Gas leak is suspected:
- Leave – Leave the area immediately. Do not try to find or stop the leak.
- Don’t Touch – Do not smoke, use any type of phone or flashlight, turn on or off any lights or appliances or operate any kind of vehicle or equipment that could create a spark.
- Dial – After leaving, immediately notify us at 1-205-655-3211 or 1-800-755-3211.
Carbon Monoxide Safety
Carbon monoxide poisoning can be deadly. Early signs of carbon monoxide poisoning resemble flu symptoms and include headache, dizziness or nausea. If you have any of these symptoms, get fresh air immediately.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur if a Natural Gas appliance is operated in an enclosed space that has no access to fresh air. Because improper installation of gas appliances can lead to carbon monoxide build-up, it is important that only qualified, licensed service personnel install your gas appliances.
You may decide to purchase a carbon monoxide detector. Under no circumstances should a carbon monoxide detector be used as a substitute for regular inspections by qualified service personnel, but the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission recommends that if you choose a carbon monoxide detector, the model you choose should meet the Underwriters Laboratory Standard 2034.
Maintaining Gas Lines
Trussville Gas and Water is responsible for maintaining the gas lines that carry Natural Gas to your meter. However, you are responsible for all gas lines on your side of the meter. These lines include all piping that runs:
- From your gas meter to the appliances on your property
- From a curbside meter to the home, when the meter is not right beside the home
- From your meter underground to a building, pool, spa heater, barbecue, or other gas appliances.
Not maintaining gas pipelines could result in potential hazards due to leakage. To properly maintain your gas lines, you should have them periodically inspected to identify unsafe conditions including corrosion and leaks, and repair any unsafe conditions immediately. A licensed, qualified professional can assist you in finding, inspecting and repairing your buried gas lines.
Markers Indicate Pipelines
A major cause of pipeline leaks is third-party damage. This may include contractors or excavators digging, grading, and working along roadways. Please always notify Alabama One Call by dialing 811 no less than two days before starting any excavation.
Most Natural Gas pipelines are buried underground. Markers indicate only the general, not the exact, location of pipelines. They also show the Natural Gas operator and emergency phone number. The markers do not show the depth of the pipelines or the number of pipelines. Underground gas lines on your property are not marked in most cases so you should learn the location of your gas meter. Be cautious when digging in areas where the lines may connect or extend from the meter to appliances on your property.
What To Do If You Disturb or Damage a Pipeline or Natural Gas Line
Even if you cause what appears to be only minor damage to the pipeline, immediately notify the pipeline company. A gouge, scrape, dent, or crease to the pipe or coating may cause a future rupture or leak. It is imperative that the pipeline owner inspect and repair any damage to the line or related apparatus. Many states have laws requiring damages to be reported to the facility owner. Do not attempt to make repairs to the line yourself.
Call Before You Dig
Pipelines may be located anywhere. This is why it is important to know where they are before digging for any reason. When digging, excavating, drilling or moving earth in any way that could damage underground pipelines, you must contact Alabama One Call by dialing 811 no less than two days before starting excavation. This will help avoid costly damage or injury. A new, federally mandated national “Call Before You Dig” number (811), was created to help protect you from unintentionally hitting underground utility lines while working on digging projects.
Every dig job requires a call, even small projects like planting trees or shrubs. If you hit an underground utility line while digging, you can harm yourself and those around you, disrupt service to an entire neighborhood and potentially be responsible for fines and repair costs. Smart digging means calling 811 before each job. Whether you are a homeowner or a professional excavator, one call to Alabama 811 gets your underground utility lines marked for free. Don’t assume you know what is below. Protect yourself and those around you by calling 811 every time you dig.
We Need Your Help
The nation’s infrastructures, including pipelines, are a matter of national security. If you witness suspicious activity on a pipeline right-of-way, please report it to the appropriate authorities as soon as possible, or you may call Trussville Gas & Water at 205-655-3211. Threat advisories may be found at the Department of Homeland Security’s website at www.dhs.gov.