Natural Gas Pipeline Safety
How to identify a pipeline
Buried pipelines are out of sight so it’s easy to forget about them. Sometimes pipelines are marked by above-ground markers, but often they are not. Please remember before you break ground, call 811 at least three working days in advance to have the location of underground pipelines marked. Natural gas pipelines will be marked with yellow paint, flags or stakes.
What happens if a pipeline is damaged?
Damage to pipelines occurs most often when people dig near a pipeline location. Pipelines can be accidentally hit, dented, scraped, or gouged. Sometimes, there may not be any apparent damage to the pipeline.
When a pipeline is damaged, the supply of natural gas to homes and businesses could be interrupted. A damaged pipeline can leak natural gas – possibly causing fires, explosions or asphyxiation.
These hazards could also be caused by:
• Extreme natural events such as floods and earth quakes
• Fire of explosion near a pipeline.
• Collapsed buildings that break or damage gas pipelines.
• Water main breaks that weaken roadways and pavement, damaging gas pipelines.
• Under or overpressure in the gas system.
• Equipment failure.
• Uncontrolled escaping gas.
An automatic control center monitors our gas system. Alarms are activated when any abnormalities occur in gas pressure, flow, or temperature. We quickly respond to any natural gas emergency.
If your digging equipment or tools make contact with the pipeline, stop your excavation and contact the City of Susanville Public Works immediately at 530-257-7236.
Possible signs of a gas pipeline leak:
• A blowing or hissing sound.
• Dust blowing from a hole in the ground.
• Continuous bubbling in wet or flooded areas.
• An odor similar to the smell of rotten eggs.
• Dead or discolored vegetation in an otherwise green area.
• Abnormally dry or hardened soil.
• Flames, if leak has ignited.
If a pipeline leak or emergency occurs:
• Evacuate occupants from the building and/or area. Do not use any telephones (including cell phones), doorbells, light switches, pagers or any other electrical equipment.
• Avoid all open flames. Do not smoke.
• Do not start up or shut down any machinery, vehicles or equipment in or near the area.
• Keep people at a safe distance from the area.
• Upwind of a leak is the safest place.
• Do not attempt to stop the leak. If the gas is burning let it burn. Do not attempt to extinguish the flames. Burning gas will not explode.