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Natural Gas Leaks: Recognition and Response
Oklahoma State University operates an extensive underground natural gas distribution system for the purpose of supplying natural gas to buildings on campus.
Natural gas pipeline leaks or failures are rare, but an informed public can help prevent emergencies and minimize potential damage or injury in the unlikely event of an accident by knowing how to recognize and report pipeline problems.
HOW TO IDENTIFY A GAS LEAK
The following signs may indicate a natural gas pipeline leak or failure:
A dense fog, mist, or white cloud. Bubbling in water and creeks or blowing dust and discolored or dying vegetation.
Natural Gas is naturally odorless, so an odorant is added to aid in leak detection. The odorant has a strong sulfur odor--like that of rotten eggs.
Whistling, hissing, or a roaring noise.
IF A GAS LEAK OCCURS...
- Do NOT touch, breathe, or make contact with the leak.
- Do NOT light a match, turn on or off light switches, use a home phone or cell lphone or do anything that may create a spark.
- Do NOT attempt to extinguish any natural gas fire.
- Do NOT attempt to operate any valves.
- DO leave the home, bruilding or area of any suspected leak.
- DO call 911 and the OSU Physical Plant Action Desk at 744-7154 once safely out of the area.
- DO warn others to stay out of the area.
Oklahoma State University recognizes that Safety, Health and Environmental stewardship are every employee's responsibility. Protection of human safety and health and the environment will come first, no matter how urgent the job, project, or commercial interest. Our goal and commitment is to use superior standards and policies for the benefit of everyone who is a part of our operations or lives in the communities in which we operate. The principles are the foundation of our safety and environmental policies at OSU.
The purpose of our pipelines is to provide safe, dependable, natural gas to University gas-burning appliances 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week. However, despite strict federal oversight and the conscientious efforts of the OSU Utilities Department, hazards do exist and emergencies, though infrequent, can occur.
The majority of pipeline damage is caused by third parties (construction contractors, property owners, excavators, etc.) digging near buried pipelines.
Damage to a pipeline, such as scratches, gouges, creases, dents, and the cutting of tracer wire or tracer tape installed along with polyethylene plastic should be reported to the OSU Physical Plant Action Desk at 744-7154.
In Oklahoma, the law requires anyone planning to dig or excavate (especially
near an underground pipeline) to notify OKIE One-Call Center two working
days (48 hours) prior to beginning excavation activities. OKIE will notify
local utilities that operate buried facilities in the area. A utility representative
will determine if the project is near underground facilities and dispatch someone
to the work site to clearly mark the route and location of buried cables and/or
pipelines. The call to OKIE--and the marking of nearby underground utilities--is
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