Natural Gas Safety

If You Smell Gas call (937) 642-1826

If you think you have a natural gas emergency, go to a safe location. Then call URE (937) 642-1826.
Calls can be made 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We will respond promptly and at no charge.
It is important that you call – do not email – and report the emergency.

Gas leaks are dangerous. It’s important that you know how to recognize and report a gas emergency.

The Three Rs of Natural Gas Safety

Recognize

Signs of a natural gas leak include:

  • A “rotten egg” odor
  • A blowing or hissing sound
  • Dead or discolored vegetation in an otherwise green area
  • Flames, if a leak has ignited
  • Dirt or dust blowing from a hole in the ground
  • Bubbling in wet or flooded areas

React

If you suspect a natural gas leak, follow these steps:

  • Leave the area immediately and call us at (937) 642-1826, then follow our instructions
  • Do not use any electrical device, such as light switches, telephones or appliances such as garage door openers They could spark and ignite the gas
  • Do not use an open flame, matches or lighters
  • Do not try to locate the source of the gas leak
  • Do not try to shut off any gas valves or appliances
  • Do not start vehicles
  • Do not re-enter the building or return to the area until a URE employee says it’s safe to do so
  • If the natural gas ignites, let it burn – Do not put out the flame; burning gas will not explode

If you are digging and think you may have damaged a natural gas pipeline, leave the area immediately. If you are using motorized equipment and can turn off the motor safely, do so to prevent the ignition of any leaking gas. Then abandon the equipment and leave the area. Never restart equipment until the surrounding environment has been checked and declared safe.

Report

Trust Your Senses!

If you recognize even one of the signs, walk away, right away.

  • Don’t try to stop or repair the leak yourself or use anything that might create a spark such as a cell phone
  • Avoid using potential ignition sources such as telephones, doorbells, electric switches, or motor vehicles
  • From a safe distance, call 911 – Never try to extinguish a gas fire or operate any pipeline valves – Then contact URE immediately at (800) 642-1826

What’s That Smell?

In its pure form natural gas is a colorless, odorless gas. A harmless odorizing agent called mercaptan is added to your natural gas that produces a distinctive pungent smell that reminds some of sulfur or rotten eggs. This added odorant enables natural gas to be detected in the event a gas leak occurs.

URE routinely monitors odor concentration in the gas system for compliance with the regulatory requirements. Even so, you should not rely solely on your sense of smell to determine if a gas leak has occurred or is occurring.

Don’t Rely on Sense of Smell Alone

In some situations, you may not be able to detect the odorant. Some people may have a diminished sense of smell. Physical conditions, including common colds, sinus conditions and allergies, can also temporarily impair your sense of smell. Sometimes the added odorant may be masked or overpowered by other odors. In rare incidences, odor fade (loss of odorant) may occur. This may cause the odor to diminish so that it is not detectable. You may be able to see other signs of a natural gas leak. Natural gas leaks often cause bubbling water, blowing dirt or dead plants. Natural gas leaks can also be detected by sound, as they often cause a hissing sound near a natural gas line or meter.

What Causes Odor Fade?

Odor fade (loss of odorant) can occur when physical and/or chemical processes, including adsorption, absorption and oxidation, cause the level of odorant in the gas to be reduced. If a natural gas leak occurs underground, the surrounding soil may cause odor fade. Other factors that may cause odor fade include, but are not limited to:

  • The construction and configuration of your gas facilities
  • The presence of rust, moisture, liquids, or other substances in the pipe
  • Gas composition, pressure, and/or flow

Intermittent, little or no gas flow over an extended period of time may also result in an initial loss of odorant that returns once the gas flow increases or becomes more frequent.

What You Need to Know

  • The member is responsible for the maintenance and repair of all gas piping from the gas meter to all gas appliances
  • The member is responsible for the repair/ replacement of the gas service line located on the member’s property from the buried curb valve to the inlet of the gas meter – Buried gas piping that is not maintained may be subject to the potential hazards of corrosion and leakage
  • For your safety, all buried pipe should be periodically inspected for leaks – If the buried piping is metallic, it should also be periodically inspected for corrosion – If an unsafe condition is found, the gas piping will need to be promptly repaired
  • Plumbing and heating contractors can assist in locating, inspecting, and repairing the member’s buried piping – The Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that a DOT-qualified plumbing contractor must be used to repair or replace a member’s buried piping upstream of the meter, including the gas riser attached to the meter set – While this is not required for piping downstream of the meter, URE strongly recommends a DOT-qualified plumber be used for all buried gas piping

Excess Flow Valves

Excess Flow Valves (EFV) which meet new Federal DOT governmental standards are available to be installed in single existing residential or small commercial gas service lines, which operate continuously at or above 10 pounds per square inch gauge (psig) and with a total anticipated load below 1000 standard cubic feet per hour (scfh).

An excess flow valve is a safety device designed to automatically shut off or greatly reduce the flow of natural gas if the service line becomes damaged, resulting in blowing gas or service line breaks. Potential safety benefits that may be derived from installing an EFV in your service line, include a reduced chance of fire, explosion, personal injury or property damage resulting from excavation-related or other significant accidents. An EFV does not protect against slow leaks resulting from corrosion, threaded joints, or against house piping leaks which develop beyond the meter assembly.

URE has been installing EFV’s on all new applicable service lines since January 2008, and will continue to do so in the future. Members with qualifying service lines installed prior to 2008, have the option to install an EFV on their existing service.

Excess Flow Valve installation is not mandatory. If you decide to have an EFV installed on your gas service line, you must pay all costs associated with installation and any possible future maintenance and replacement costs. Initial installation, maintenance, and replacement costs can range from $500 to $700, mostly due to excavation costs.

To see if you qualify for (and/or) to schedule an EFV installation, please contact our office at (937) 642-1826 to speak to a representative.

Corrigated Stainless Steel Tubin (CSST)

Do you have this fuel gas piping product installed in your home or business? This product, known as corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST) should be properly bonded and grounded in order to reduce the risk to your house or business caused by lightning activity.

What is CSST?

CSST is a flexible, stainless steel piping system used to supply natural gas and propane in residential, commercial, and industrial structures. Standard CSST is coated with a yellow exterior plastic coating.

Why is this important?

If lightning strikes on or near a structure, there is the risk it can travel through the structure’s gas piping system and cause a leak, and in some cases a fire.

Since 2006, manufacturer’s instructions have required direct-bonding and grounding of yellow CSST in new installations. A bonding connection installed on a gas piping system, as with any metallic system within a house, will reduce the likelihood of electrical arcing to or from other bonded metallic systems in the structure, thus reducing the likelihood of arc-induced damage.

What Should I Do If I Find CSST?

  1. Inspect: If work has been performed on the gas piping system in your house or business since 1990, it’s possible that yellow CSST was installed but not to current installation requirements.
  2. Mitigate: If you find yellow CSST, it is strongly recommended that you contact a licensed electrician. The licensed electrician can make sure that your system is properly bonded.