LOOK for blowing dirt, discolored vegetation or continued bubbling in standing water.
LISTEN for a hissing or roaring noise near a natural gas appliance or line.
SMELL for the distinctive, rotten-egg odor associated with natural gas. Natural gas is colorless and odorless, so we add a chemical odorant called mercaptan for easy detection. This odorant has a distinctive “rotten egg” type odor. You should act any time you detect even a small amount of this odor in the air.
LEAVE the area immediately and move a safe distance away from the potential leak, while avoiding any action that may cause sparks. Do not try to identify the source or to stop the leak yourself.
AVOID using any sources of ignition, such as cell phones, cigarettes, matches, flashlights, electronic devices, motorized vehicles, light switches or landlines, as natural gas can ignite from a spark or open flame, possibly causing a fire or explosion. Natural gas is non-toxic, lighter than air and displaces oxygen. In severe cases, if not used properly, natural gas can also lead to asphyxiation.
CALL Virginia Natural Gas at 877.572.3342 or 911 once you are out of the area of the suspected leak and in a safe place. Stay away until Virginia Natural Gas or emergency personnel indicate it is safe to return.
Note: Do not solely rely on sense of smell. Be aware that some individuals may not be able to detect the odorant because they have a diminished sense of smell, olfactory fatigue or because the odor is being masked by other odors in the area. Certain conditions may cause the odorant to diminish so that it is not detectable. Some gas lines, due to their unique function, may not have
odor at all.
Planning a home improvement project? Planting a tree? Installing a fence or deck? WAIT!
With any digging on your property, here’s what you need to know first:
Excavation work, including digging or plowing around a home or business, is the most common cause of natural gas emergencies. Before digging around your property, state law requires you call 811, a nationwide, toll-free number, to have your utility lines professionally marked.
After calling, you must wait the required amount of time before digging. Your local utilities, like Virginia Natural Gas, will locate and mark, free of charge, and each with a different color paint or flag, where their underground utility lines are within the area where you want to dig.