Gas Pipeline Safety

Living Safely with Natural Gas Pipelines

Natural gas is lighter than air. It is non-toxic and contains no poisonous ingredients. Breathing natural gas is not harmful as long as there is an adequate supply of fresh air to breathe along with it. Natural gas by itself will not burn. Combustion or explosion can occur only when there is a mixture of gas and air containing between 5%-15% of natural gas and an ignition source. An odorant that smells like rotten eggs is added to natural gas so that it can be detected.

If you smell a faint odor of natural gas inside your home or business:

  • Investigate immediately.

  • If the source of the odor cannot be located or corrected, call the City of Stromsburg Utilities immediately (24 hours a day). A representative from the City of Stromsburg Gas Dept. will come to your home or business and make an inspection at no charge to you.

  • Do not smoke or strike a match and never operate an electric switch, flashlight, lighter or telephone. Each of these can ignite natural gas.

  • If the odor persists, TAKE NO CHANCES, get out of the house immediately, to a safe location at least 1/2 block away then call the City of Stromsburg Utilities from a nearby phone.

Signs of a Natural Gas Pipeline Leak

Leaks from a natural gas pipeline are extremely rare. Year after year the National Transportation Safety Board statistics support the industry’s safety record. However, it is important to know how to recognize the signs of a leak if one were to occur in your area.

Call Right Away if You:
See

  • Vegetation over or near the pipeline which appears to be dead or dying for no apparent reason.

  • Water bubbling at a creek, pond, or any wet area.

  • Dirt being blown or appearing thrown into the air.

  • Fire or explosion near or involving the pipeline.

  • Exposed pipeline, which may have been caused by a natural disaster, such as flood or earthquake.

Hear

  • A hissing, whistling or roaring sound.

Smell

  • Natural gas is colorless and odorless, but may have a petroleum smell at times. Our pipelines contain odorized gas, giving the gas a slight “rotten egg” smell.

Steps You Should Take IF You Suspect A Gas Leak

  1. If you suspect a leaking or damaged pipeline, leave the area immediately and warn others to stay away.

  2. If you suspect your excavation equipment has struck a pipeline, do not attempt to move the equipment. Shut the equipment off and leave the area.

  3. Once away form the pipeline, call our 24-hour Emergency number at 402-764-2561, as well as your local fire or sheriff department.

Signs of a Natural Gas Pipeline Leak

The City of Stromsburg Utilities operates underground natural gas pipelines in the City of Stromsburg and the surrounding area. We are providing this safety information as part of our pipeline damage prevention program to our customers and neighbors who live and work in the vicinity of our facilities. Please share this information with others.

WHAT IS NATURAL GAS?

Natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel. It moves silently, safely and efficiently through an extensive network of pipelines in our distribution system.

Below are some reassuring facts about natural gas:

  • Natural gas is not a poison or toxic.

  • Natural gas is colorless and odorless in its natural state.

  • Natural gas will not ignite on its own. To burn, gas requires both a precise amount of oxygen and an ignition source.

  • Natural gas is lighter than air and will rise and diffuse rapidly.

ARE PIPELINES SAFE?

Natural gas pipelines are the safest method of transporting energy. They lie underground, virtually unseen as they deliver gas to our customers. Although the City of Stromsburg Utilities follows strict pipeline safety procedures, it is still important for everyone living and working near gas pipelines to know basic safety information.

While pipeline companies and employees across the nation are on a heightened state of alert, we continue to monitor and patrol the pipelines regularly via vehicles and on foot. Please call local law enforcement if you see anything out of the ordinary in your Area. Together, we can take precautions that will keep the City of Stromsburg safe.

If you Live or Work Near a Pipeline

HOW CAN YOU TELL WHERE A PIPELINE IS LOCATED?
Since natural gas pipelines are built underground, their location and depth are difficult to determine. Never assume the pipeline lies in a straight line. Always call Diggers Hotline at 811before digging. It is a crime for any person to deliberately damage, destroy or remove any pipeline sign or right-of-way marker.

Pipelines can lose cover by natural erosion or other forces. If you observe indications that a pipeline is shallow or exposed, contact the City of Stromsburg at their emergency number 402-764-2561.

WHAT IS A PIPELINE RIGHT-OF-WAY?
A pipeline right-of-way is the strip of land over a pipeline. A right-of-way agreement between our company and a property owner is called an easement. Easements provide our company with permanent, limited access to the land to enable us to operate, test, inspect, maintain, and protect our pipeline.

Pipeline right-of-way must be kept free from structures and other obstructions. If a pipeline crosses your property, please do not plant trees or shrubs on or near the right-of-way without first having the City of Stromsburg Utilities personnel mark the pipeline, stake the easement and explain construction guidelines to you.

WHO SHOULD I CALL IF I DETECT A GAS LEAK IN MY HOME?
If you suspect a natural gas leak inside your home or on your service line, immediately evacuate and contact the City of Stromsburg Utilities emergency number 1-402-764-2561 and the local Fire or Sheriff department.-911.

If you Live or Work Near a Pipeline

People doing excavating, digging, or grading are the most frequent cause of pipeline damage and failures. Whether you are planning a major project or landscaping your property, you should protect your safety and the safety of those around your work site by notifying Diggers Hotline at 811 before you begin. 

When notified in advance by Diggers Hotline, the City of Stromsburg Utilities personnel will mark the exact location of the pipeline. This free service allows you to begin your project with the assurance that your safety will not be compromised and our pipeline will not be damaged.

WHAT IF I DIG AND DISTURB A PIPELINE?
If you hit or contact a pipeline in any way, inform the City of Stromsburg Utilities immediately. A gouge, scrape, scratch, dent, or crease to a pipe or its coating may cause a future safety problem. It is imperative that the City of Stromsburg Utilities inspects and repairs any damage to our pipeline, no matter how minor it may seem.

WHAT SAFETY PROCEDURES SHOULD YOU TAKE?
When it comes to safety of you or anyone else near a pipeline, it is important to know the procedures you should take when someone has damaged a pipeline or when you suspect a gas leak.

If you or anyone else accidentally damages or suspects a gas leak on the City of Stromsburg Utilities pipelines, follow the procedures below:

  1. Leave the area immediately and warn others to stay away.

  2. If you suspect your excavation equipment has struck a pipeline, do not attempt to move the equipment. Shut the equipment off and leave the area.

  3. Once away from the pipeline, call our 24-hour Emergency number at 1-402-764-2561, as well as the Local fire or sheriff department.

If You Are a Public Safety Official

A public safety official must take whatever steps are necessary to safeguard the public in the event of a pipeline emergency. The following suggestions are offered as a guide:

  • Notify the appropriate pipeline company, or if you are unsure of the appropriate pipeline company, call our 24-hour Emergency center at 402-764-2561 or 911 and report the type (leak, rupture, fire) and the location of the Emergency.

  • Establish a safety zone around the emergency site and control access. This may include evacuating people within the safety zone.

  • If gas is not burning, avoid doing anything that may ignite it. Be aware of wind direction and potential ignition sources.

  • If gas is burning, control secondary fires, but do not attempt to put out pipeline fires. Do not attempt to operate pipeline valves.

While emergency response agencies are doing their part, our pipeline employees will do what needs to be done to protect lives and property.

  • They will first protect people from injury by removing all persons form the danger zone. If a fire doesn’t already exist, they will remove any sources of ignition.

  • They will help people in distress.

  • They will eliminate the natural gas source. If it is possible to do so from the location of the emergency, they will. In many cases, the natural gas must be shut off at a remote location. It’s important for you to know that our employees are responsible for operation the valves that isolate the affected facilities.

The emergency number is staffed by personnel trained in emergency situations, who are available 7 days a week, 24-hours a day. They are trained to respond and direct any emergency calls to the proper authorities, gather the most accurate information regarding an incident and dispatch the proper company personnel to the location of the ember emergency as quickly as possible.

Call before You Dig

Before you begin any excavation project, call Diggers Hotline. This service is available to you, free of charge, so that you can proceed safely with any digging, trenching, blasting, excavating, drilling, plowing, boring, auguring, and grading. Never guess where a pipeline is located.

If you ever damage or hit a City of Stromsburg Utility pipeline, no matter how minor the contact may seem, call the City of Stromsburg Utilities at 402-764-2561 immediately so we can assess the damage.

Before Excavating, Please call Diggers Hotline at 1-800-331-5666, 811, or go to their web site at: www.ne-diggers.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

DO I HAVE TO CALL DIGGERS HOTLINE?
Yes! Calling the Nebraska State One Call is required by state law (Nebraska Statute 76-2321) designed to protect your underground facilities and the public.

IF I'M A SUB-CONTRACTOR ON A JOB, DO I HAVE TO GET A TECKET OR WILL THE GENERAL CONTRACTOR'S TICKET PROTECT ME?
There is no such thing as a blanket ticket. If you are a sub-contractor and you are excavating, protect yourself and your company by calling to get a ticket. The general contractor’s ticket does not apply to anyone except them.

Call our 24-hour Emergency telephone number to report a leak.

          1-402-764-2561

DO NOT Operate anything that may ignite a gas leak (cellular telephones, lighters, flashlights, vehicle ignition, two-way radios, etc.).

DO NOT Go near the area. Keep others away from the site.

DO NOT Attempt to shut off any valves or extinguish any fires.

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