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To report a pipeline emergency involving a Pecan Pipeline, call: 1-866-899-2626

Recognizing a Pipeline Leak

Pipeline companies regularly inspect their rights-of-way using air, foot and vehicle patrols. Trained inspectors look for situations which could damage pipelines, such as construction activity, as wells as signs of gas or liquids leaks.

A pipeline leak may display any of the following signs:

  • A pool of liquid on the ground near a pipeline
  • A dense white cloud or fog over a pipeline
  • Discolored vegetation surrounding the pipeline
  • Bubbling in a wet flooded area, river or creek
  • An oily sheen appearing on water surfaces
  • Frozen ground at the pipeline in warm weather
  • Dirt blowing up from the ground
  • An unusual noise coming from the pipeline, such as a hissing or a roaring sound


An unusual odor or scent of gas or petroleum; natural gas is primarily odorless; however, a scent that smells like rotten eggs (mercaptan) is added to distribution pipelines which take natural gas to homes and businesses

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What to Do When a Leak Occurs

  1. Immediately leave the area, staying upwind if possible.
  2. Abandon any equipment being used in or near the suspected leak.
  3. From a safe location, call 911 or your local emergency response number and the pipeline company. Call collect, if needed, and give your name, phone number, description of the leak and its location.
  4. Warn others to stay away when possible.
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What NOT to Do When a Leak Occurs

  1. Do not touch, breathe or make contact with the leaking product
  2. Do not create an ignition source by lighting a match, starting an engine, using a telephone, turning light switches on or off or taking other actions that may produce a spark.
  3. Do not attempt to extinguish any pipeline fire that may start.
  4. Do not drive into a leak or vapor cloud area. Automobile engines may ignite the vapors.
  5. Do not attempt to operate pipeline valves.
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Emergency Action Procedures for Public Safety Officials

Public safety officials know to take whatever steps are deemed necessary to safeguard the public in the event of a pipeline emergency. These suggestions are offered only as a guide:
  • Secure the area around the leak to a safe distance. This could include evacuating people from homes, businesses, schools, and other locations, as well as erecting barricades to control access to the emergency site and similar precautions. Some pipeline emergencies may make going outdoors dangerous. In these circumstances sheltering in place may be the safest course of action.
  • If the pipeline leak is not burning, take steps to prevent ignition. This could include prohibiting smoking, rerouting traffic, and shutting off the electricity and residential gas supply.
  • If the pipeline is burning, try to prevent the spread of fire, but do not attempt to extinguish it. Burning petroleum products will not explode, but if the fire is extinguished, gas and vapor may collect and could explode when reignited by secondary fires.
  • Contact the pipeline company as quickly as possible. Pipeline marker signs show the pipeline company’s name, emergency telephone number, and pipeline contents.
  • Public safety personnel should not attempt to operate any of the valves on the pipeline. Improperly operating the pipeline valves could escalate the situation and cause other accidents to occur.
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Pipeline Operator’s Actions During an Emergency

The pipeline operator will immediately dispatch personnel to the site to assist in the emergency response and provide information to public safety officials. They will also take the necessary operating actions such as starting and stopping pumps, closing and opening valves, and similar steps to address the situation.

Using the Incident Command System (ICS), pipeline operators work with local emergency officials to establish a coordinated approach to dealing with an incident.

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