Gas Main Markings
Distribution lines are typically yellow plastic and steel ranging in size from 5/8″ to 6″ and ranging in depth from 18″ to 48″. It is a requirement of state and federal law that you “call before you dig” (see logo) or move earth in any way. You must call one of the “Call Before You Dig” numbers 811 or 800-292-8525 to have lines located to insure your safety as well to prevent damage to our underground pipelines. Markers have been placed at the pipeline crossings of public roads, railroads, navigable waterways and other locations on our right-of-way to indicate the presence of one or more underground high pressure pipelines. Temporary marking devices consist of flags, stakes, paint or other suitable means of identifying pipeline facilities in the field. Temporary marking devices will be bright yellow, which is the Lamar County Gas District’s color for gas pipeline locating.
Know what to do in case of a leak from a natural gas pipeline
If you suspect a leak, you should leave the area immediately. If you are in a motorized vehicle or are operating equipment, you should turn off the ignition and walk away, upwind if possible. Evacuate the area and warn others to stay away. From a safe area, call 205-695-9320 or call 911. It is important that you do not create a spark or bring anything into the area that could serve as a potential ignition source. Never use smoking materials or open flames. Cellular phones, flashlights, and motor vehicles are all potential ignition sources. If you suspect that the leak is near your home, do not operate light switches or other electrical devices.
Know by Sight
- Dirt being blown or appearing to be thrown in the air
- Continuous bubbling in wet or flooded areas
- Dead or dying vegetation on or near a pipeline area in an otherwise green area.
- A dry area in a wet field
- Flames if a leak has ignited coming from the ground or appearing to burn above ground
Know by Sound
- A roaring, blowing, or hissing sound
Know by Smell
- Sometimes an unusual odor (mercaptan)
Is your meter accessible? Meter reading plays a vital role in both the billing process and in providing quality service to our customers. The meter reader gathers usage data from your gas meters every month. Potential hazards that meter reader must face each day are the obstacles that often block utility meters. Overgrown shrubs and trees, as well as some fences and landscaping and even family pets can make accurate meter reading a real challenge. Help us ensure that your pets are not a threat to meter readers. Customers can help us to alleviate these problems by making sure their meters are accessible. If you are unable to trim the overgrowth surrounding your meter or have questions concerning accessibility, please contact our office at 205-695-9320.
Recognize your pipeline’s general location
You may or may not be a customer. Maybe you don’t even live along our pipeline but maybe you pass along our line on your way to school, work, church or other outings. You may be receiving this notice because our pipeline runs near your general area or community. You, your family and other members of your community can see where a Lamar County Gas District pipeline runs through this area by locating and identifying the yellow pipeline marker signs located at nearby crossings and along the road.
You will notice that the general pipeline route follows along a narrow stretch of land called a right-of-way which designates a safe and clear corridor for the pipeline. This right-of-way enables our workers to gain access for inspection, maintenance, surveying or emergencies.
Our pipeline markers are located at varying intervals along the right-of-way and typically on both sides of most roadway crossings. The pipeline markers list our contact number for reporting pipeline emergencies. The placement of these markers along the right-of-way at intersections and other crossings indicates the general position of the buried pipeline and should never be used as a reference for the exact pipeline position.
Know Your Local Pipeline’s Product
The gas transported by the Lamar County Gas District pipeline is treated with mercaptan. Natural gas is essentially odorless and an odorant called mercaptan is added for safety reasons. The odorant produces a very distinctive “rotten egg” Or “Sulphur” smell. You and your family should know and understand the characteristics of natural gas and how to recognize a natural gas leak.
Be aware of the activity in your local pipeline’s Right of Way
The safe operation of the pipeline is our primary consideration. All persons are required by state law to contact their local One-Call Center (811) or 1-800-292-8525 no less than 48 hours before beginning any excavation, trenching, boring or other soil disturbing activity. This is a free service. This gives the One-Call Center time to notify us that someone is planning to dig near our pipeline. It also alerts other utilities operating in the area. If we determine that the proposed work is near our right-of-way, a Lamar County Gas District representative will locate and mark our pipeline. A major cause of leaks from pipelines is damage caused by someone accidentally striking a line when digging. Even if it does not result in a break immediately, it can weaken or damage the integrity of the line and subsequently lead to a leak months or years later.
Customer owned lines
A customer-owned service line consists of the piping that leaves the outlet side or connection to a gas meter and enters the soil to reach the appliance. Piping that does not enter the soil is not applicable. The gas district does not maintain customer-owned service lines and when customer owned piping is not properly maintained, it may be subject to potentially hazardous corrosion or leakage.
The department of transportation requires that a natural gas distributor, like Lamar County Gas District, inform its customers of the possibility for leakage and corrosion of customer-owned piping is not properly maintained and that customer-owned buried gas piping should be (1) periodically inspected for leaks, (2) periodically inspected for corrosion if the piping is metallic and (3) repaired promptly if a potentially hazardous condition is discovered. Also, when excavating near buried gas piping, regardless of ownership, the piping should be located in advance and the excavation near the gas piping done by hand. Call before you dig by contacting the Alabama 1Call at 1-800-292-8525 or simply dial 811. It’s a free call to have the utilities in the area located and marked for everyone’s safety!
Local heating contractors and natural gas plumbers can assist in locating, inspecting and repairing customer-owned service lines. As always, gas district employees will assist you or your contractor in correcting the problem.
Please feel free to contact us at 205-695-9320 if you have any questions about this notice. Our goal is to try and serve our customers in the safest, most effective manner possible. To realize this goal, we must comply with all applicable rules, regulations and codes including this notice on customer-owned service lines. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you.