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Safety Information

Natural gas is a safe, reliable and affordable energy choice, but it should be handled properly and with care. This is why it’s important for you to be educated about the properties of natural gas and of the potential hazards if natural gas is released through damaged or leaking pipelines: Properties of natural gas:
  • Natural gas is Colorless
    • There is no way to see natural gas being released. However you can see blowing dirt, dead plants and/or bubbling water
  • Natural gas is Odorless
    • As a safety feature, Piedmont adds a compound called mercaptan to natural gas. Mercaptan gives natural gas its rotten egg smell, making it easily recognizable
  • Natural gas is Nontoxic
    • Natural gas is not toxic to humans, however it will displace oxygen. This means that a natural gas leak in a confined environment could significantly reduce the amount of oxygen in the air and create a dangerous environment
  • Natural gas is Flammable
    • Natural gas will ignite with the proper mixture of air and an ignition source
Call Piedmont Natural Gas at 1-800-752-7504 if you suspect a pipeline leak or damage.

How to recognize a natural gas leak

What should you do if you suspect one?

Natural gas leaks can happen anywhere
A natural gas leak can impact you, even if you don’t have natural gas service at your home or business. It’s possible for natural gas to migrate into neighboring buildings, including those without natural gas service, so even if you’re not a Piedmont Natural Gas customer, leaks from nearby facilities and/or pipelines could affect you. Natural gas leaks can be handled quickly and easily if you know what to look for and what to do if you find one. Here’s how you can identify a natural gas leak:
  • SMELL
    • Natural gas smells like rotten eggs
  • LOOK
    • Natural gas leaks often cause bubbling water, blowing dirt or dead plants. You may also see sink holes and/or exposed pipe
  • LISTEN
    • Natural gas leaks often cause a hissing sound near a natural gas line or meter
If you smell natural gas or suspect a leak:
  • Leave the area immediately
  • After leaving the area, call Piedmont at1-800-752-7504 or call 911
    • Call from a neighbor’s house or from another location far from the smell of natural gas
  • DO NOT use anything electrical that may create a spark; this includes cell phones
  • DO NOT operate any light switches
  • DO NOT light a match
  • DO NOT attempt to locate the source of a leak
  • DO NOT attempt to stop a leak
  • DO NOT return to the area until Piedmont Natural Gas or the emergency services have declared the area safe
  • DO NOT attempt to operate pipeline valves yourself. You may inadvertently cause more danger or additional damage
  • DO NOT attempt to extinguish a natural gas fire

Protect Yourself against Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can result as a byproduct of incomplete burning of natural gas or other fossil fuels.
  • Make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector
  • Make sure all gas appliances are installed correctly and checked annually              
  • Have chimneys cleaned and checked every year for obstructions             
  • Don’t use outdoor appliances or equipment indoors for space heating or cooking
  • Symptoms of CO poisoning:
    • Flu-like symptoms              
    • Headache              
    • Drowsiness              
    • Ringing sensation in the ears              
    • Nausea              
    • Blurred vision              
    • Chest pains              
    • Light-headedness or dizziness
Call 811 Before You Dig

Material Safety Data Sheets

Material Safety Datasheet for Natural Gas

Pipeline Awareness Mailer

To order FREE copies of the “Responding to Natural Gas Emergencies” brochure for first responders, please complete this form.
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