Every day, over two million miles of underground pipeline safely transports and distributes natural gas to more than 68 million homes and businesses like yours. Carrying one of the safest, most reliable and environmentally friendly fuels in use today, this pipeline system is buried underground not only for safety reasons, but also to protect it from the weather and ensure uninterrupted service.

Natural gas companies work hard to protect their pipelines from natural hazards and third-party damage. In addition to installing highly visible pipeline markers, many companies perform aerial, ground and marine inspections; conduct annual leak surveys; and install sophisticated leak detection equipment. To build awareness, these companies also sponsor public education programs, meet regularly with public and emergency officials and conduct excavator education sessions.

While it’s unlikely that a problem could occur, incidents do happen. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn about natural gas safety.

Detecting a leak

Use your senses of sight, hearing and smell, along with any of the following signs, to alert yourself to the presence of a gas leak:


  • The distinctive odor of natural gas


  • A damaged connection to a gas appliance
  • Dirt or water being blown into the air
  • Dead or dying vegetation (in an otherwise moist area) over or near pipeline areas
  • A fire or explosion near a pipeline
  • Exposed pipeline after an earthquake, fire, flood or other disaster


  • An unusual sound, such as a hissing, whistling, or roaring sound near a gas line or appliance

It makes sense to trust your senses.

Clean, efficient and nontoxic, natural gas is one of the safest, most environmentally friendly fossil fuels in use today. While incidents are rare, it’s still important to know the signs of a natural gas leak—and to trust your senses.

To help you SMELL a leak from a gas line or appliance, a familiar odor like rotten eggs is often added to natural gas. Or you might SEE blowing dirt, bubbling water or an unusual area of dead vegetation. A leaking natural gas pipeline might also make a hissing sound you can HEAR. If you suspect a gas leak, leave the area. Then, call your local natural gas company and 9-1-1. Click here for a list of natural gas companies.

Call before you dig—it’s the law

Remember to contact OHIO811 at 8-1-1, at least two working days before you start to dig for any landscape or construction project. Excavators planning any digging, ditching, drilling, leveling or plowing activity must contact OHIO811 as well. For more information about OHIO811 and calling before you dig click here.

To learn more…

For more information about natural gas safety, click on the appropriate link below:

If you’re a member of the general public, click here.

If you’re a first responder official, click here.

If you’re an excavator, click here.

If you’re a public official, click here.