Public Awareness Message for Natural Gas
Natural gas is one of the safest fuels available. It makes sense to know what to do in case of a natural gas leak.
Public Awareness Safety Message
The City of Portland Natural Gas operates and maintains over 290 miles of natural gas distribution pipelines, providing natural gas to over 5000 customers. These pipelines bring clean, economical and safe energy to area homes, businesses, and industries. The City of Portland Natural Gas System covers a large service area:
- North to the KY/TN border
- West into Robertson County
- East of Highway 52 E
- South just before the Highway 109 ridgeline
The purpose of this message is to make you aware of our pipelines and what to do in the event of an emergency.
Attention: Even if you do not have natural gas service there may be a natural gas pipeline on or near your property.
Natural gas is an extremely safe form of energy and is transported to Industrial, Commercial and Residential customers by buried pipelines. Natural gas pipelines are built and operated in accordance with State and Federal Safety Codes. Pipelines are a reliable and safe method to transport natural gas. Homeowners and Excavators are required by law to "call before you dig". Always call 811 before you dig. It is a free call and there is no cost to the homeowner to have underground utilities located. You are required to call in advance of digging in Tennessee. The 811 number is good everywhere. The utility companies will mark the underground facilities with paint and flags. You are required to hand dig test holes carefully to determine the exact location and depth of the buried utility. Damage to natural gas lines may cause leakage resulting in a fire or an explosion.
Contact the City of Portland at 615-325-6776, or after hours at 615-388-0997, or 911 if you suspect or discover a gas leak. If the leak is inside your home, you should leave the residence and make the telephone call from outside the home or from a neighbor's telephone. Do not try to stop or repair the leak yourself or use anything that might create a spark such as light switches, electric doorbells, or telephones. Do not smoke. Never try to extinguish a gas fire. Natural gas has a chemical additive that gives it a familiar "rotten egg" odor; however, smelling natural gas is not the only method of detecting a gas leak. A gas leak may be indicated by observing dirt blowing on the ground, bubbling in a water puddle or an unusual area of dead vegetation. You may also hear a hissing sound.
We maintain up to date operations and maintenance procedures that are made available to local and state authorities. Gas companies are required to perform pressure tests on pipelines before they are put in service. Federal codes require periodic leak surveys to locate leaks so they may be repaired before they become hazardous.
If You Are an Excavator or Contractor & Plan to Dig
People doing excavation, digging or grading are the most frequent cause of pipeline damage and failures. Whether you are planning to build a major development or landscape your property, you should protect your safety and the safety of those around your work site by notifying the Tennessee One Call notification system, call 811 or 800-351-1111. When notified in advance by the One-Call Center, City of Portland gas personnel will mark/locate the location of the gas main. (City of Portland will mark/locate water, sewer and gas utilities in your area once a Tennessee One Call ticket is called in). This free service allows you to begin your project with the assurance that your safety will not be compromised and our gas line will not be damaged.
Call Before You Dig
The number one cause of natural gas emergencies is damage by a third party. Before any excavation, you must call Tennessee One Call at "811" to have utilities located and marked. It is smart and it is the law. Please do not dig carelessly near gas pipelines. Call before you dig, wait to have the lines marked, respect the markers, and dig with care.
- What does natural gas smell like?
In its pure form, natural gas is odorless. We add a harmless odorizing agent that produces a distinctive, strong smell that reminds some of sulfur or rotten eggs. This makes it possible for you to detect even a small leak.
- What should I do if I smell gas?
Use caution! A natural gas leak can cause an explosion if ignited by a spark. If you smell gas in your home, leave your house immediately and call our emergency service number (615-388-0997, City of Portland Natural Gas On-Call Phone Number), or 615-451-3838 or 911 from another location such as a neighbor's house.
For your own safety, remember these rules in the event you smell gas:
- Do not use your electric garage door opener to leave your house. Any motorized appliance could spark, igniting the natural gas
- Do not use your phone to call us unless you are outside and away from your house. Using any type of telephone could ignite the leaking gas
- Do not turn any light switches or other electrical devices on or off. Anything electrical, even something as small as a thermostat, may cause a spark and ignite leaking gas
- Do not try to re-light the pilot light. Leave gas furnaces, water heaters and other gas appliances alone until you are certain that it is safe
- Do not smoke cigarettes or light candles. Using a lighter or a match could ignite the leaking gas
Once you are safely away from the building, call the City of Portland Gas Department or emergency services immediately:
- Between the hours of 8 am to 4:30 pm, call 615-325-6776
- After 4:30 pm or on weekends please contact one of the following:
- On-Call Gas Phone: 615-388-0997
- Phone: 615-451-3838
- What if I dig and disturb a natural gas line?
If you hit or contact a gas line in any way, inform the City of Portland immediately at 615-325-6776 or 615-388-0997 (gas on-call phone). A gouge, scrape, scratch, dent or crease to a pipe or its coating may cause a future safety problem. It is imperative that City of Portland gas crew inspects and repairs any damage to our pipeline, no matter how minor it may seem.
- What safety procedures should you take?
When it comes to the safety of you or anyone else near a gas main leak, it is important to know the procedures you should take when someone has damaged a gas line or when you suspect a gas leak. If you or anyone else accidentally damages or suspects a gas leak on a City of Portland Natural Gas System, follow the procedures below:
- Leave the area immediately and warn others to stay away
- If you suspect your excavation equipment has struck a gas line, do not attempt to move the equipment. Shut the equipment off and leave the area
- Once away from the gas leak, call City of Portland at 615-325-6776, or after 4:30 pm call 615-388-0997 (gas on-call phone), or 911