Soil erosion and the use of powerful farming tools increase the potential for damage to underground natural gas lines. Learn how you can prevent gas pipeline accidents.
When you till, rip, dig or perform other digging activities within 10 feet of a high-pressure natural gas pipeline, a PG&E representative needs to be on-site.
During installation of a pipeline crossing, the intersection should be as near to 90 degrees as possible and should clear the pipeline by at least 24 inches. Use solid tile at the point where field tile crosses the pipeline and pea gravel to prevent settling. Plastic pipe is preferred when crossing the pipeline. A local PG&E representative may be on-site during installation.
Proceed with caution when deep plowing and try to stay clear of PG&E pipeline rights-of-way. We may schedule a meeting with you to discuss risks and precautionary measures to take, including having a PG&E representative stand by while the work is performed.
If you are installing ponds, lakes or drainage ditches, please keep a distance of at least 36 inches to protect the pipeline and those working near it. A representative may be on-site when you backfill.
Whether you are planting a tree, digging holes for fence posts or driving stakes for concrete, call 811 at least two business days before you plan to start your project the service is free. For more information, visit California811.
Identify and mark your digging area with a white substance such as chalk, spray paint, flour or marking whiskers, tags, stakes or any combination.
PG&E and other companies will use colored utility flags, stakes or paint to mark underground lines following the American Public Works Association Uniform Color Code (PNG, 130 KB). Please leave the marks in place until you are finished digging. The marks are valid for 28 days.
Only use hand digging tools, such as shovels, within the 24-inch zone. After finishing your project, carefully backfill and compact the soil.
For additional information about 811 or to make an online request, go to the Underground Service Alert North or DigAlert websites.
You can spot PG&E's larger transmission pipelines by looking for pipeline markers. They specify the approximate or offset location; however, not all pipelines follow a straight path between markers. These markers also indicate the need for extra care when digging in the area.
Use our interactive online map to find out if there are natural gas transmission pipelines in your area.
A red and white marker indicates you are near a gas transmission line. Note that it's against the law to remove or tamper with one of these markers.
Please report any signs of a gas leak immediately.
We add a distinctive, sulfur-like, rotten egg odor so you can detect even small amounts of natural gas. However, DO NOT rely only on your sense of smell to detect the presence of natural gas.
Some people may not be able to smell the odor due to a diminished sense of smell, olfactory fatigue (normal, temporary inability to distinguish an odor after prolonged exposure), or because it is masked or hidden by other odors that are present. Also, certain conditions in the pipe and soil can cause odor fade—the loss of odorant so that it is not detectable by smell.
Pay attention to hissing, whistling or roaring sounds coming from underground or from a gas appliance.
Be aware of dirt spraying into the air; continual bubbling in a pond, creek, puddle or other source of standing water; as well as dead or dying vegetation in an otherwise moist area.