Recognizing a Leak

/Recognizing a Leak
Recognizing a Leak 2018-04-17T18:43:01+00:00


A majority of gas pipeline leaks occur as a result of individuals digging on their own property. State law requires all excavators and private citizens to contact an 811 center prior to any excavation activities. Once 811 is called, Summit Natural Gas will mark all gas pipelines free of charge.

Although natural gas pipelines have an unparalleled safety record, occasionally leaks do occur.

It’s important to know the signs and hazards of a natural gas leak.

Although natural gas pipelines have an unparalleled safety record, occasionally leaks do occur. Here are some signs of a natural gas leak:

  • An odor like rotten eggs caused by the Mercaptin mixed with the natural gas
  • Roaring sound like an engine
  • White vapor that looks like smoke
  • A hissing or whistling noise
  • Fire coming out of a hole or on top of the ground
  • Dirt blowing from a hole in the ground
  • An area of frozen ground in the summer
  • Patches of dead vegetation or grass


Here are some hazards you need to be aware of:

  • Gas leaks are highly flammable and easily ignitable
  • Gas leaks displace oxygen and cause asphyxiation
  • Natural Gas fires may produce irritating and corrosive vapors
  • Vapors may cause dizziness


If you suspect a natural gas leak, call Summit immediately at 1-800-909-7642 from your neighbor’s house or another location away from the leak.

If you smell gas, act fast!

Natural gas does not have an odor, so an odorant called Mercaptan is added to signal a leak. Mercaptan gives off a foul smell, reminiscent of rotten eggs or sulfur. If a natural gas leak is suspected, NEVER do anything that might cause a spark. This includes:

  • Lighting a match
  • Starting an engine
  • Using a cell phone or other electronic device in close proximity to a suspected leak
  • Extinguishing a fire or attempting to repair a leak
  • Drive anything into a vapor cloud as it might explode


Most leaks are small and not dangerous, but if a leak is suspected, always comply with the following procedure to be safe:

  • Leave the area uphill or up wind of the suspected leak
  • If possible, turn off any equipment that could cause a spark
  • From a safe place, call 911 or your local emergency responders
  • Call us at 1-800-909-7642 and be sure to tell us where you are so you can let us into your house or business when we arrive
  • Warn others of a potential leak and stay there until emergency responders arrive.


Under no circumstances should you ever attempt to repair, stop or fix a pipeline leak, or rupture. Trained pipeline technicians with specialized equipment and knowledge are the only individuals qualified to conduct repairs on natural gas pipelines.

Emergency Contact Information

To request that pipelines near your home or business be located: 811 or 888-DIG-SAFE or 877-DIG-SAFE
To report an emergency, call: 911 or 800-909-7642

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