The U.S. natural gas transmission and distribution system has the best safety record of any type of transportation system in the country. Natural gas is clean, convenient, and efficient, which makes it the popular energy choice.
Like all forms of energy, however, it must be handled properly. Despite an excellent safety record, a gas leak caused by damage to a pipeline may pose a hazard and has the potential to ignite. DPU works diligently to ensure pipeline safety through a variety of measures, including the one-call Miss Utility and Dig Safe programs, inspections, design and construction practices, workforce qualifications, public education, industry safety practices and government oversight, pipeline markers and facility mapping, gas leak surveys, and patrols of critical gas facilities.
A gas leak is usually recognized by the smell, sight, or sound.
- Smell: Natural gas is colorless and odorless. Before it reaches you, we add a distinctive, pungent odor -- a rotten eggs smell -- so that you will recognize it quickly.
- Sight: You may see a white cloud, mist, fog, or bubbles in standing water, or vegetation that appears to be dead or dying for no apparent reason.
- Sound: You may hear an unusual noise like roaring, hissing or whistling.
What should you do if you suspect a leak?
- Protect life first. Move to a safe environment.
- Call 911 or the City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities at 646-7000.
- Do not strike a match, use telephones, switch on or off appliances, lights or even a flashlight in the area where you smell gas. Those actions could produce sparks that might ignite and cause an explosion.
How to Get Additional Information
- City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities -- 804-646-7000
- Web -- www.richmondgov.com/PublicUtilities/NaturalGasSafety.aspx
- Call Before You Dig (Virginia) -- 811 or 800-552-7001
- Web -- www.va811.com Office of Pipeline Safety -- www.ops.dot.gov