Sight: Liquid pools, discolored or abnormally dry soil/vegetation, continuous bubbling in wet or flooded areas, an oily sheen on water surfaces, and vaporous fogs or blowing dirt around a pipeline area all can be indicative of a pipeline leak. Dead or discolored plants in an otherwise healthy area of vegetation or frozen ground in warm weather are other possible signs. Natural gas is colorless, but vapor and “ground frosting” may be visible at high pressures. A natural gas leak may also be indicated by bubbles in wet or flooded areas, distinct patches of dead vegetation, dust blowing from a hole in the ground, or flames, if the leak is ignited.
Sound: Volume can range from quiet hissing to a loud roar, depending on the size of the leak and pipeline system.
Smell: An unusual smell, petroleum odor or gaseous odor sometimes will accompany pipeline leaks. Natural gas and highly volatile liquids are colorless, tasteless and odorless unless commercial odorants or mercaptan is added. Gas transmission/gas gathering pipelines are odorless, but many contain a hydrocarbon smell.
What to do in the event of a leak:
Turn off any equipment and eliminate any ignition sources without risking injury. Leave the area by foot immediately. Try to direct any other bystanders to leave the area. Attempt to stay upwind. If known, from a safe location, immediately notify the pipeline operator and call 911 or the local emergency response number. The operator will need your name, your phone number, a brief description of the incident and the location so the proper response can be initiated.
What NOT to do in the event of a leak:
DO NOT provide any potential source of ignition, such as flipping an electrical switch, starting a motor vehicle or lighting a match. Do not ring doorbells to notify others of the leak. Knock with your hand to avoid potential sparks from knockers.
DO NOT come into direct contact with any escaping liquids or gas.
DO NOT drive into a leak or vapor cloud while leaving the area.
DO NOT attempt to operate any pipeline valves yourself. You may inadvertently route more product to the leak or cause a secondary incident.
DO NOT attempt to extinguish a petroleum product or natural gas fire. Wait for local firemen and other professionals trained to deal with such emergencies.
If you believe there is a pipeline leak, immediately call 911 as well as EnLink Midstream Gas Control 866-394-9839 (in Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, and West Virginia) or 877-593-0822 (in Texas and Oklahoma).