Signs of an underground gas leak

Natural Gas Pipeline Safety

Builders and Remodelers

Natural Gas Pipeline Safety and You

St. Croix Gas pipelines are used to distribute natural gas from our town border stations to customers. Safe operation of our pipelines is our number one concern.

The pipelines are buried in public and private right of ways. There may be a gas main along your back or side property line, or along the roadway in front of your home. A gas service line may be anywhere on your property.

The distribution pipelines we operate range in size from 1/2" to 8" in diameter and are made of high strength steel and specially engineered plastic. They operate at pressures from 50 to 400 p.s.i.

The pipelines are designed and maintained to stringent safety standards. The steel pipelines are cathodically protected to prevent corrosion. All pipelines are leak surveyed regularly with extremely sensitive instruments that will detect the smallest of leaks.

Leaks are most often caused by digging by excavators, by contractors installing decks and fences, and, near farms, by gophers. Calling 811 for locating services of your utilities is the best way to avoid a leak caused by digging.

Natural Gas Leaks - Physical Facts

Colorless and Lighter than Air - Natural gas is colorless and is about half as dense as air. Natural gas rises when released to the atmosphere.

Non-Toxic - Natural gas is non toxic, but it will displace breathing air in high concentrations, which can cause suffocation.

You can recognize natural gas leaks by:

Smell: Natural gas in odorized St. Croix Gas pipelines has a "rotten egg" smell. The odorant is so highly concentrated that even the smallest amounts of natural gas can be easily detected. Even faint smells of "rotten egg" odors should be reported as potential gas leaks.

Listen: Small natural gas leaks under pressure can make a hissing noise. Larger leaks or line breaks can cause a loud roaring noise. If you hearing an unexplained hissing or roaring noise in town, along a rural right-of-way, near a yellow pipeline marker, or on any developed property - report it to St. Croix Gas immediately.

See: Natural gas is lighter than air and will rise. Natural gas leaks may cause vegetation above the leak to die. Dead vegetation can be an indication of an underground gas leak. Unexplained bubbles in mud puddles or other bodies of water can also indicate a gas leak in an underground pipeline. There may not be a detectable odor.

What to Do if You Suspect a Natural Gas Leak

If you think you smell, hear or see indications of a natural gas leak - call St. Croix Gas's 24 hour phone number immediately at 425-6177. St. Croix Gas has technicians available to investigate gas leaks 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A technician will be dispatched quickly to investigate all potential leaks, regardless of the time of day. Here are some important reminders:

DON'T use your telephone. This includes cellular phones and all types of portable communication and electronic devices that have a battery. These can spark and create a source of ignition.

DON'T light matches or create any other source of ignition.

DON'T turn a light on or off, or operate ANY electrical switches, either off or on. This could create a source of ignition. The sparking could ignite the gas.

EVACUATE all persons from the area of the leak.

CALL US (425-6177) from a neighbor's phone or a cell phone, once you have walked away from your building.

Some Important Do's and Don'ts for those Living or Working near Natural Gas Pipelines

DO report leaks immediately.

DO report unauthorized excavation activity or suspicious activity around natural gas pipelines.

DO call 811 for locates when digging on your property. DON'T build or store materials over pipelines.