Recognizing a Pipeline Leak


How to identify pipelines                                                          


  • Pipelines are usually buried underground.
  • Markers are used to show the general, not the exact, location of a pipeline.
  • Pipelines may not follow a straight course between markers.
  • Markers do not show how deep the pipeline is buried or how many lines are in the area.
  • The pipeline right-of-way is the land over the pipeline, usually 25 feet from each side of each pipeline.
  • Do not plant trees or tall shrubs and do not build permanent structures on the rights-of-way, so that pipeline rights-of-way can be properly maintained.
  • Do not dig on the rights-of-way, unless you have notified the One-Call Center.
  • Never rely only on the presence or absence of pipeline markers. Someone may have moved or removed the marker.
  • Emergency contact information is listed on each pipeline marker.
  • Do not disturb the markers. Willful removal or damage of the markers is a federal offense and subject to a fine or imprisonment.

How to recognize a pipeline leak


Natural gas is a colorless, odorless fuel that is lighter than air. Because natural gas has no odor, local utilities add a harmless odorant to help people smell gas, should a leak occur. Odorant is added only at certain places along the pipeline, however, so you may not be able to detect a leak by smell.


Here are other ways you can detect a leak:

  • Hissing or roaring sound caused by escaping gas.
  • Dead or discolored vegetation in an otherwise green setting along a pipeline route.
  • Blowing dirt, grass or leaves near a pipeline.
  • Flames coming from the ground or from valves along a pipeline.
  • Steady bubbling in a wet, flooded area or marshland, river, creek, or bayou.

What to do if you suspect a pipeline leak


  • Avoid open flames.
  • Do not start or restart motor vehicles or electrical equipment near the suspected leak.
  • Do not light a match or other sources of ignition.
  • Leave the vicinity immediately by foot.
  • Turn off and abandon nearby vehicles and equipment.
  • Warn others to stay away from the area.
  • Do not try to put out a natural gas fire. Call Boardwalk Pipleline Partners and your public safety officials.
  • Do not operate any pipeline valves. You may route more gas to the leak.

How to report a pipeline leak


  • From a safe location, call Boardwalk at 1-800-850-0051 and report the leak. Give your name, the location and a description of the leak.
  • You also may call 911 or your local public safety officials and describe the location and the situation.
  • Call local law enforcement officials to isolate the area.