Emergency? Call 1-800-ALLIANT (1-800-255-4268)

Natural Gas Safety at Home and at Work

Making natural gas safety our priority

Alliant Energy is dedicated to keeping our employees, customers and communities safe through training, education and awareness. We continuously seek out new technologies in pipeline design, construction, inspections, and operations to make delivery of natural gas safe, cost-effective and secure.

Pipeline illustrationPipeline awareness

Approximately 88 percent of the natural gas consumed in the United States is produced in the U.S.

Natural gas is extracted from the earth and travels to your community through underground transmission pipelines. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the 2.5 million miles of pipelines in the U.S. are the safest method of transportation for natural gas.

Once the natural gas reaches your community it passes through a gate station, where the pipeline pressure is reduced and the local distribution company, like Alliant Energy, distributes the natural gas to customers. The underground pipelines within your community are called mains and are typically buried in or next to streets. Service lines, approximately 1/2 inch to 1 inch in diameter, connect to the main and carry the gas to homes, businesses, and factories.

When the gas passes through a customer’s gas meter, it becomes the property of that customer. Customers are responsible for installing and maintaining the piping natural gas flows through to reach appliances and equipment.

Pipeline markers

These indicate the approximate, but not exact, locations of transmission pipelines. The markers provide a toll-free number (800-255-4268) to report problems. Transmission line markers are typically placed at public road crossings, fence lines and street intersections. In most cases, pipeline markers are not located on a natural gas distribution system inside urban service territories.

Visit the National Pipeline Mapping System at npms.phmsa.dot.gov to learn who operates transmission pipelines in your area.

Detecting a gas leak

Natural gas is colorless and odorless. Gas companies add an odorant to give gas its distinctive rotten egg odor so you can smell a leak immediately.

Always use caution near a gas leak and recognize the possible hazards, such as fire, ignition, or explosion.

The unintentional release of gas is dangerous to the public and could cause fires, explosions, injury, and death. A gas leak or damaged pipeline is indicated by the following:

  1. Hissing or whistling sound near a gas appliance, meter or pipeline.
  2. Blowing dirt, bubbling water or discolored vegetation in an otherwise green area.
  3. Rotten egg odor. (Contact Alliant Energy for a scratch ‘n sniff card with this scent at 1-800-ALLIANT).

Alliant Energy will investigate any suspected leaks free of charge.

Dig safely – Steps that could save your life

  1. Call 811 before you dig
    811 is the national phone number that initiates the process of locating and marking the underground utility lines in your yard or at your job. Dial 811 at least three business days before you dig.
  2. Wait the required time for facilities to be marked.
    One Call Center personnel then notify area utilities, such as Alliant Energy, to mark the approximate locations of buried gas or electric lines with high-visibility safety paint and/or flags. There is no charge for this locating service.
  3. Respect the marks, then dig with care
    When you start digging, try to stay as least 24 inches away from the marked lines. Hand digging with extreme caution is a requirement when digging within the 24 inch tolerance zone.

For more information on 811, visit call811.com.

If you hit a pipeline ...

Notify Alliant Energy if your digging equipment or tools contact our underground pipelines. Minor damage, such as nicks, scratches, cuts, scrapes, dents, and gouges can result in pipeline failure or a major incident in the future if not properly assessed. Contact Alliant Energy at 1-800-ALLIANT (800-255-4268) before back-filling your excavation. If gas is blowing call 9-1-1.

Natural gas is one of the safest fuels.

Stringent safety standards govern the exploration, production, transportation, distribution, and use of natural gas. We’re committed to improving and maintaining that fine record.

Working together

At Alliant Energy we consider our emergency and public officials as a partner in our prevention efforts. That’s why we mail information regularly, participate in meetings with other pipeline companies and work with emergency responders to be prepared for any possible pipeline incident.

In order to perform required safety inspections on our pipelines, we must have clear access to the pipeline right-of-way.

The area on either side of our pipelines must be kept clear of trees, fences, buildings and other structures.

Relocation of meters

To assure proper service, gas meters must be accessible. If you are planning to do work on your premises that will affect the location or accessibility of a gas meter or service line, please call 1-800-ALLIANT to arrange for us to evaluate your plans.

Additional Tips

  • A qualified professional should check your gas appliances annually. Inspections keep gas appliances safe and efficient, and reduce risks of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Snow and ice can damage gas meters and pipes. Use a broom to keep gas service equipment clear during the winter.
  • Vents for gas appliances must be cleared following a major snow or ice storm to enable proper venting and prevent carbon monoxide accumulation.

Pipeline accidents are relatively rare. The leading cause of accidents on the pipeline delivery system is from damage caused by excavators who fail to call 8-1-1 for the proper location of the pipe.

To learn more about our integrity management program or other natural gas pipeline safety topics, call 1-800-257-3645 or visit alliantenergy.com/pipelinesafety.

Para solicitar una versión en español de un folleto de seguridad de gas natural, llame al 1-800-257-3645.