Xcel Energy adds an odorant, mercaptan, to natural gas that gives it its distinctive smell; many describe it as similar to sulfur or rotten eggs, but it may smell differently to you. However, sometimes this odor is not apparent. This may occur when a person has smelled the odor for too long, when the odor is masked by other smells, or if the odor is stripped from the gas through physical or chemical processes.
Be alert for obvious gas leak sources, such as a damaged connection to a gas appliance, a pipeline that has been compromised during excavation activities, or a pipeline exposed by an earthquake, flood, or landslide. Use your senses of sight and hearing (not just your nose) to detect these common natural gas leak warning signs:
- Dirt spraying or blowing into the air;
- Continual bubbling in water;
- Grass or plants dead or dying for no apparent reason.
- A hissing, whistling, or roaring sound.
Warn others and evacuate the area. Do not use matches, cell phones, radios, lighters, or anything else that could create a spark and ignite the gas. Leave the excavation open; do not operate pipeline valves or bury the line. From a safe location, call 911, call Xcel Energy at 800–895–2999, and report the leak to your supervisor. (For PSCo gas transmission pipeline emergencies, call 800–698–7811, the number on PSCo pipeline markers.) Stay away from the area until safety officials say it is safe to return.
Additional underground utility guidelines, case studies, instructional videos, and training tools can all be found, at no charge to you, on Xcel Energy’s e-SMARTworkers website.
Do you like this email series?
Do you find the information helpful? We’d like to know. Please reply to this email and tell us what you think or let us know what topics you’d like to see in future emails.