Natural Gas Safety
Gas leaks and safety tips: 3Rs Brochure
Living Near Pipelines
If you suspect a natural gas leak:
Leave the area immediately and go to a safe location
- Do not try to locate the source of the leak
- Do not do anything that could cause a spark and ignite the gas:
- Do not use electrical devices, such as light switches, telephones, or garage door openers
- Do not use an open flame, matches or lighters
- Do not start vehicles parked in the area
- Do not try to shut off any natural gas valves
- From a safe location, call Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050
- We will respond promptly at no charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Do not re-enter the building or return to the area until a Consumers Energy employee says it’s safe
Signs of Natural Gas Leak
- “Rotten egg” smell
- Dead or discolored vegetation in an otherwise green area
- Dirt or dust blowing from a hole in the ground
- Bubbling in wet or flooded areas
- Blowing or hissing sound
- Flames, if a leak has ignited
- Gas in transmission pipelines does not have odorant added, so signs of a pipeline leak may include all of the above except the rotten egg odor.
Dig Safely to Prevent Damage to Pipelines
Many leaks are caused by damage to pipelines, usually by accidentally striking an underground gas line while digging. Professional excavators and homeowners planning to dig should always call 811 at least three working days prior to starting any digging project to request free staking of underground utility lines.
You should call 811 even for simple jobs such as planting, replacing a mailbox post or installing a fence. Damaging a pipeline can be very dangerous, and calling 811 can help you stay safe during digging projects and avoid costly repairs.
Damage prevention information for contractors and excavators can be found below under Digging Safe.
Pipelines in Your Community
Underground pipelines transport natural gas across the country and directly to homes and businesses throughout Michigan. For more information on our pipeline safety programs for people near pipelines, please visit the Living Near Pipelines section of this page.
Call MISS DIG at 811 three full working days before you dig
Natural gas, electric, sewer, water, cable, fiber optic and other service lines are buried underground and out of sight. Damages to underground gas lines are dangerous, costly and disrupt a vital service to the communities.
Anyone planning to dig should always call 811 at least three full working days before starting for free identification staking of underground utility lines. It is the law to call 811 even for routine jobs, such as planting shrubs or trees, replacing a mailbox post or installing a fence or deck.
If you will be digging anywhere near a marked area - especially if you are using power equipment - use a wood handled shovel and carefully hand dig to expose the lines. This will prevent emergencies and unnecessary service interruptions to you and your neighbors.
To request staking or learn more, please call 811 or visit www.missdig.net or www.call811.com.
Damage Prevention Team
Consumers Energy’s Damage Prevention team coordinates with excavators and contractors to prevent damages. For more information or training on excavating safely, please contact our damage prevention team.
To find the damage prevention team member assigned to your area, view our regional map. (get map from Seth)
Excavators Damage Prevention Guide - This publication has been specifically prepared for Michigan's professional excavators as a reference tool for interacting with the MISS DIG call center and Consumers Energy.
Property owner’s underground utilities
Please note that MISS DIG will contact the utility owners who will mark their respective lines (from the road to the meter on home or business). The customer/property owner is responsible for maintenance and operation of all gas or electric lines installed between the meter and all appliances. This includes gas and electric lines to yard lights, grills, pool and spa heaters, garages, workshops or other similar areas. A mechanical contractor may help mark those lines for a fee. Customers who have an outdoor sprinkler system will also need lines marked.
Signs That Can Keep You Safe
This is a sign we use to permanently mark the location of underground natural gas pipelines. However, these markers may not always show the exact location of the line or the direction it follows. Always contact MISS DIG to be sure.
Signs like these are used as temporary markers for underground natural gas lines.
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Living Near Pipelines
Treat any natural gas leak as an emergency.
Leave the area immediately and call 1-800-477-5050 .
We operate and maintain high-pressure natural gas transmission lines across Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. High pressure pipeline routes are identified with above ground pipeline markers, but they do not give exact location, depth or direction of the pipeline. For information on who operates pipelines in your area visit the National Pipeline Mapping System. To have underground utilities marked for safe excavation, always call 811 three business days prior to digging
We also have additional pipeline safety resources for emergency officials.
As part of the federal Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002, we have an Integrity Management Program for our natural gas infrastructure. We review the structural integrity of pipelines in “high-consequence areas” (HCAs) where a large number of people live within a certain distance of a pipeline. This also includes “identified sites” near pipelines such as schools, hospitals and playgrounds where people may gather.
Learn how we maintain a safe gas system through pipeline integrity.
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