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


  • An unusual odor or scent of gas or petroleum
  • The products in Williams pipelines are primarily odorless but may contain a rotten egg smell from the odorant mercaptan
  • Hydrogen sulfide will carry a pungent rotten egg 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?

  • Turn off and abandon any motorized equipment, if applicable
  • Evacuate the area quickly and cautiously by walking into the wind, away from possibly hazardous fumes
  • Warn others to clear the area
  • Call 9-1-1, the pipeline operator and 811 once you have reached a safe location
  • DO NOT touch, inhale or make contact with leaking liquids or gas
  • DO NOT use open flames or anything that could ignite a spark (cell phones, flashlights, motor vehicles, tools, etc.)
  • DO NOT attempt to operate pipeline valves. Wait for an authorized representative from the pipeline operator