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SDG&E offers tips on spotting, responding to natural gas pipeline leaks


As natural gas usage increases in the winter, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is stressing natural gas pipeline safety. Though rare, leaks in natural gas pipelines can be caused by third-party contractors, hidden corrosion or natural disasters, and are highly flammable.

SDG&E offers these safety tips:

*Most natural gas pipelines are buried underground, but only major pipeline routes are marked above ground with high-visibility markers. These markers purposely indicate only the general – not exact – location of major pipelines usually found where a pipeline would intersect a street, highway or rail line. However, most lower-pressure lines used to serve residential neighborhoods and businesses are not marked, which is why it’s important to know where they’re buried before digging for any reason.
*To ensure safety and to comply with California state law, call Underground Service Alert toll-free at 8-1-1 at least two workdays before digging to have utility lines marked at no cost. To find out if there are pipelines located in a specific area, visit the National Pipeline Mapping System Web site at
*Be aware of a “rotten egg” smell – the odor additive in natural gas to help identify leaks – or a hissing, whistling or roaring sound, as well as dead or dying vegetation, near a pipeline.

If a leak is suspected:

*Stay calm.
*Don’t light a match, candle or cigarette, and don’t turn any electrical devices on or off, including light switches.
*Leave the area where the leak is suspected and call SDG&E immediately at (800) 411-7343 or call the local fire department.

Additional safety information is available on SDG&E’s Web site at


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