Columbia Gas of Virginia Reminds the Public To Be Safe Around Natural Gas, Trust Senses and Take Action

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

For Release:
June 3, 2014

Contact:Bob Innes
(804) 768-6410
(804) 512-1425 - cellular

Chester, VA – June 3, 2014 - Natural gas is delivered safely to nearly 251,000 Columbia Gas of Virginia customers daily through a network of more than 5,000 miles of underground pipelines. With the National Safety Council marking June as National Safety Month, Columbia Gas reminds the public that 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. Mercaptan is used as an early warning detection of a potential hazard.

What to Do If You Smell Natural Gas (Similar to Rotten Eggs)

  • Immediately evacuate the area.
  • From a safe location, call 911 and Columbia Gas at 1-800-544-5606.
  • 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, door bells, or other power equipment.
  • Do not attempt to operate a pipeline valve or try to correct the leak yourself.
  • When emergency personnel arrive explain the situation to them.

At no charge, Columbia Gas technicians will respond, evaluate the odor, make the natural gas facilities safe and make appropriate repairs. 

For more information about natural gas safety, visit

About Columbia Gas of Virginia
Columbia Gas of Virginia delivers safe, reliable and clean natural gas to over 251,000 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.


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