The purpose of natural gas pipelines is to carry one of the world's most efficient and environmentally-friendly fuels to businesses and homes like yours. These pipelines help meet the energy needs of the region. According to federal statistics, pipelines are the nation's safest and most reliable energy transportation system. Although gas incidents are rare, this mode of transportation does carry some hazards should a release occur. These risks may include ignition, fire, and explosion; which can have a significant impact to both property and/or life. For this reason, Peoples Gas considers a natural gas leak first priority. We train extensively on leak response and liaison with First Responders on how to effectively respond to pipeline emergencies. These ongoing relationships help prevent incidents and assure preparedness for emergencies, should they occur.
High Consequence Areas and Integrity Management
Per federal regulations, Peoples Gas denotes certain parts of the pipeline as High Consequence Areas (HCAs). These are generally places with a large number of people congregated along Peoples Gas' transmission pipeline system. In addition, Peoples Gas has an Integrity Management Program that details the safety measures required to keep our pipelines safe. These safety measures include scheduled corrosion inspections and control, leak survey, valves to isolate sections of the pipeline, and the use of leak detection equipment.
Peoples Gas is committed to safety. That's why we follow state and federal regulations, as well as perform extensive quality control checks. We also work to educate residents about how to recognize and prevent natural gas leaks.
Be aware of the signs of a pipeline leak
Natural gas is lighter than air and may pose a hazard, especially if released in confined spaces. It's important to be able to identify signs of a natural gas leak, especially the rotten egg-like odor that natural gas gives off. Near a gas line, watch for blowing dirt, bubbling water, dry spots in moist areas or dead plants surrounded by live, green plants. Listen for a hissing sound. All of these things could mean there is a natural gas leak nearby.
If you suspect a leak, leave immediately – don't try to find or stop the leak. Don't touch anything electrical before you leave or use a telephone, even a cell phone. Don't smoke, don't turn appliances or lights on or off, and don't operate any vehicle or equipment that could create a spark. Once you are out of the suspected area, immediately call 877-832-6747. If the smell of natural gas is particularly strong, call 911.
Pipeline Markers - How to spot pipelines in your area
Peoples Gas installs yellow pipeline markers along the route of the pipeline to meet state and federal requirements and also to assist us and our customers in identifying where our main natural gas pipes are installed.
You may see these markers at key areas such as road crossings, fence lines and street intersections. Pipeline markers display the name of the owner of the pipeline, the product contained in the pipeline and the number to call in case of an emergency. Please note that pipeline markers indicate that a gas facility is in the general area and are not necessarily placed directly over the pipeline nor do they indicate the depth of the pipeline.
Recognize the signs of natural gas
In some areas such as residential developments and downtown districts, pipeline markers may not be present due to exemption from installation requirements related to specific regulatory criteria. In most situations, natural gas pipelines are located within the rights of way of streets and roadways. Be aware that unauthorized infringements on pipeline rights of way inhibit our ability to respond, perform routine maintenance, provide surveillance, respond to third party damage, and perform required federal and state inspections.
If you have any questions regarding our pipeline markers, including locations within a residential development, please call 877-832-6747.
Prevent damage to pipelines
Florida law requires anyone working on a project that involves digging of any kind- whether they own the property where the digging is taking place or not- to call 811 two full business days before digging starts. Trained professionals will visit the property where digging will happen to locate and mark all underground utility lines. The service is free and the message is simple: Call before you dig. For more information, visit www.sunshine811.com.
Visit www.phmsa.dot.gov for information on pipeline operators in your area. For additional information about natural gas safety, visit peoplesgas.com/safety or call 877-832-6747.