Columbia Gas of Virginia reminds the public to trust your senses around natural gas

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

For Release:
March 18, 2014

Bob Innes
(804) 768-6410 office
(804) 512-1425 cellular

Chester, VA – March 18, 2014 – Natural gas is delivered safely to more than 245,000 Columbia Gas of Virginia customers daily through a network of nearly 5,000 miles of underground pipelines.  While the largest single cause of pipeline failures is the result of homeowners and professional excavators damaging underground lines, natural gas leaks may be caused by loose fittings, appliance connections, material failure, accidental damage or corrosion. It is important to look, listen and smell to recognize a possible natural gas leak and then take action.

  • Look – Bubbling water or dirt blowing from the ground near a natural gas line can indicate a release of natural gas from the underground pipeline.
  • Listen - If you hear a hissing, blowing or roaring sound that could indicate a potential hazard.
  • Smell - Because natural gas is odorless and colorless, Columbia Gas adds “Mercaptan” to the natural gas, which smells like “rotten eggs,” as an early warning detection of a potential hazard.

 What to Do If You Smell “Rotten Eggs” or Detect a Natural Gas Leak

  • Immediately leave the area
  • From a safe location away from the area, call 911 and Columbia Gas of Virginia at 800.544.5606.
  • Warn others to stay away from the area
  • Leave windows and doors in their current position
  • Avoid open flames or anything that could spark ignition - including cell phones, lights, garage doors or other power equipment.
  • Do not attempt to operate pipeline valve or try to correct the leak yourself.
  • When emergency personnel arrive explain the situation to them.

“At Columbia Gas of Virginia, providing safe reliable service is our top priority,” said Mike Huwar, Vice President and General Manager Operations. “We expect any person who smells “rotten eggs” or detects a potential leak to immediately leave the area and then call 911 and the gas company. By taking these steps we can keep Virginia a safe place to live and work.”

To learn more about natural gas safety, visit

About Columbia Gas of Virginia
Columbia Gas of Virginia delivers safe, reliable and clean natural gas to customers in portions of Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, suburban Richmond, Central Virginia, and the Shenandoah Valley, the Lynchburg region and parts of Western Virginia.  With headquarters in Chesterfield County, the company is one of the 7 energy distribution companies of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI) serving 3.8 million natural gas and electric customers. Always call 811 before you dig and Dig with CARE.  Learn more at