Recognizing Leaks

Leaks from pipelines are unusual, but we want you to know what to do in the unlikely event one occurs. Your senses of sight, hearing and smell are the best ways to recognize a pipeline leak.


  • For a dense white cloud or fog
  • Discolored or dead vegetation
  • A pool of liquid on the ground
  • Flames coming from the ground or an exposed pipeline valve
  • A slight mist of ice or frozen area on the pipeline
  • Continuous bubbling in wet, flooded area
  • A rainbow or a sheen on water
  • Dirt or water being blown or appearing to be thrown in the air


  • The scent of gas or petroleum
  • An unusual “rotten egg” or “skunk” odor


  • An unusual hissing or roaring noise coming from a pipeline
  • A “bubbling” sound


  • These signs may not all occur at the same time.
  • Exposure to natural gas liquids can cause eye irritation, coughing, sneezing, and overall respiratory discomfort

What should I do if I suspect a leak?

  • Leave the area immediately. Walk into the wind, away from possible hazardous fumes.
  • Do not touch, breathe or make contact with leaking liquids or gases.
  • Do not light a match, start an engine, use a telephone (including a cell phone), turn light switches on/off or do anything that may create a spark. Turn off any lit gas pilot lights if immediately accessible.
  • Turn off any machinery and equipment; however, if a vapor cloud has surrounded a piece of equipment, do not go into the cloud to turn it off.
  • From a safe location, call 911 or your local emergency response number and the pipeline company. Call collect, if necessary, and give your name, phone number and a description of the leak and its location.
  • Warn others.
  • Do not drive into a leak or vapor cloud.