Detecting Leaks

Natural gas is odorless.

Utility companies add the chemical odorant "mercaptan" to natural gas distribution lines (link) to help make gas leaks easier to notice by using a rotten egg smell.  Interstate and Intrastate Transmission lines DO NOT have mercaptan additive so a transmission line leak WILL NOT be detected by smell.

You may hear an unusual hissing or roaring sound, see dead or discolored vegetation, pooled liquid or a cloud of vapor or mist. You may smell an unusual odor, or the scent of petroleum or odorized natural gas.

If you suspect a pipeline leak has occurred:

 Do Not!
  • Touch, breathe or make contact with leaking liquids
  •  Make sure gas appliances are turned all the way OFF
  • Start an engine of any kind
  •  Leave the area
  • Strike matches or create a flame of any kind
  • Telephone 911 from a neighbor's house or other location
    well away from the gas leak
  • Use a telephone or cell phone
    (these can ignite airborne gases)
  • Explain the situation 
  • Turn on or off any electrical switches
    (these also can ignite airborne gases)
  • Drive into a leak or vapor cloud area