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Natural Gas Facts


If You Smell Gas…

Natural gas is odorless and colorless, so a harmless substance is added to make it smell like rotten eggs. 
Why? So you can easily detect a gas leak.

If you smell gas or suspect a gas leak:


  • Leave the area at once.
  • Go to a location outside of the house or building where you no longer smell gas.
  • Call 1-800-655-8565 immediately to report the situation.
  • Get immediate medical attention for victims of burns or carbon monoxide poisoning.


  • Light matches or smoke. Avoid use of all open flames.
  • Use any electrical device, including appliances, doorbells and garage door openers.
  • Turn light switches on and off.
  • Use any phones, including cellular phones.
  • Try to locate the source of the gas leak.
  • Re-enter the building or return to the area until PIE&G representative tells you it’s safe to do so.

How to Recognize A Gas Leak...

During construction, when working in or near an area containing underground gas facilities, be alert to the following signs of potential hazard:

  • Natural gas odor in or near your excavation site. To make it easier to recognize natural gas, a rotten egg odor is added. However, some natural gas pipelines in Michigan do not carry odorized gas.
  • Apparent or non-apparent damage to pipes that have been broken pulled, dislodged or gouged.
  • Brown patches in vegetation on or near a right-of-way.
  • Dry spots in moist earth.
  • Evidence of blowing (gas) noise, blowing dirt or bubbling mud or water.
  • Fire coming from the ground or burning above the ground.
Notify the gas utility owner if any of the above are observed.

If you make contact with a utility line...

If your equipment makes contact with the utility line, stop your excavation and contact the utility company immediately. This includes if you nick, dent, gouge, cut, scrape, or scratch the pipeline coating. Contacting the utility allows the utility company the opportunity to investigate.

Don’t assume that damage can occur only at the point of contact. A utility facility that is pulled or bumped could break at a location away from the actual excavation site. Failure to notify the utility owner of these occurrences could result in future corrosion and/or failure. (Public Act 53, Section 12)

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