Natural Gas Safety - Business
Natural gas is one of the safest and cleanest burning energy sources available. At National Fuel, providing safe, reliable natural gas service at the lowest possible price is our highest priority.
We are equipped for natural disasters. In the event of a natural disaster such as an earthquake, flood, or tornado, National Fuel will make any repairs and restore service as quickly as possible.
Our underground main lines are built of sturdy materials and are installed in well-formed, solid soil. If a gas line is damaged by a natural disaster, the chance of a severe problem is minimal because natural gas dissipates into the air.
Natural gas, in its natural state, is colorless and odorless. Because of this, natural gas providers must add a harmless, non-toxic odorant to it to make it more readily detectable. These odorants are typically mercaptans and produce the well known "gassy odor" that is associated with natural gas, usually described as a rotten egg smell. If you smell this odor at your business, or you have reason to suspect a natural gas leak, take action right away:
- Immediately extinguish all open flames, such as candles, cigarettes, kerosene lamps and heaters.
- Alert everyone in the area of the potential danger and evacuate the area.
- Avoid any action that may cause a spark including using flashlights, turning on/off lights, etc.
- Move a safe distance away from the area and call National Fuel's 24-hour gas emergency phone number, 1-800-444-3130 from another location.
- Stay away from the area until trained professionals arrive to make it safe.
- Never try to fix a leaking natural gas pipeline or extinguish a natural gas fire.
Odor Fade (Loss of Odorant)
Odor fade is the weakening over time of the olfactory effect of normally odorized gas. In other words, there is something either in the gas or pipe that is reducing the strength of the odor. Known contributors to odor fade problems include new pipe installation (both steel and plastic), substances within the pipe such as oxidation (rust) or natural gas liquids, and little or no gas flow over an extended period of time.
DO NOT rely on your sense of smell alone to detect the presence of natural gas, especially when purging a pipeline of natural gas (see, Purging of Gas Lines below).
Purging of Gas Lines
DO NOT purge the contents of a gas line into a confined space or where gas could accumulate. Any release of natural gas presents the potential for explosion and fire.
Purging of gas should only be performed by a qualified professional in a well-ventilated area or by venting the contents to the outside atmosphere. Before purging, identify and eliminate all sources of ignition in the area where the gas may be vented. Always use gas detection equipment during purging operations or when working on gas piping facilities to determine if natural gas is present. DO NOT rely on your sense of smell alone to detect the presence of natural gas.
Consult your local fuel gas code for more information. When installing gas appliances or equipment, follow the manufacturer's instruction manual in accordance with the local code requirements.
Call Before You Dig, Drill or Blast — It's The Law!
National Fuel is a member of the local One-Call programs in New York and Pennsylvania. In order to avoid an accidental utility line dig-up, which may put your own safety and the safety of others at risk, you are required to notify the appropriate One-Call system before beginning construction, excavation or demolition projects. One-Call centers provide a service free of charge to anyone planning excavation, construction or blasting activities near a pipeline right of way. Once a call has been made, the One-Call center will notify the companies responsible for operating underground utilities in the area of the planned work. Representatives from each utility company will then visit the proposed work site and mark the location of their facilities to reduce the risk of damage to these facilities.
In New York, call the Dig Safely New York Organization at least two days before you dig at 1-800-962-7962.
In Pennsylvania, call the Pennsylvania One-Call System, Inc. (POCS) at least three business days before you dig at
1-800-242-1776 or 8-1-1.
Also watch for third-party excavators digging, drilling, leveling, ditching or blasting near our pipelines and notify us immediately if you think there might be a problem.
Cross Bore Sewer Line Safety New Topic
A blocked sewer line may be the result of another utility line (gas, electric, telecommunications) having been accidentally "cross bored" through a sewer line.
"Cross Bores" occur when natural gas lines or other utilities are unintentionally and unknowingly installed through sanitary or storm sewer lines when using trenchless construction technology. The hazard occurs when mechanical equipment used to unclog sewer lines hits and penetrates a natural gas line which can lead to a dangerous and unintended release of natural gas into a home or building.
National Fuel has taken extensive measures to insure that our current trenchless construction practices are safe. However, in recent years, "Cross Bores" have led to several incidents across the nation that have resulted in property damage, injury and death.
If unable to visually verify that a cross bore blockage does not exist, follow these precautionary measures before you attempt to clear a sewer blockage beyond the outside wall of a building:
Call 811 for underground utility locations to determine if the blockage is in the vicinity of utility lines;
If you suspect that a sewer blockage was caused by a natural gas line, please call National Fuel at 1-800-444-3130 so that we can safely investigate. If you find a cable cross bored through the sewer, please call your local electric or telecommunications utility to investigate the situation.
If you suspect a natural gas leak by smelling, seeing or hearing gas escaping:
Do not operate any equipment and eliminate sources of ignition;
Leave and instruct others to leave the area;
Call National Fuel's emergency line from another location at 1-800-444-3130.
For more information on "Cross Bore" safety, please visit the Cross Bore Safety Association website at www.crossboresafety.org.
Click here for more information about Pipeline Safety.