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Gas Pipeline Q & A

Here are the most commonly asked questions and answers about natural gas pipelines and gas pipeline safety information.

Terms and Information

High Consequence Areas (HCAs) are primarily locations that are heavily populated and have gas transmission pipelines in the vicinity. Less populated areas can also be classified as HCAs if they meet specific additional requirements, such as buildings accommodating low-mobility residents or areas where people gather for a specific number of days per year.

Non-High Consequence Areas (Non-HCAs) are primarily locations that are not heavily populated and/or do not have gas transmission lines in the vicinity.

Emergency Preparedness
Natural disasters and emergencies can strike without warning. A summary of our emergency response plan can be found here

Q1. How do I know where gas pipelines are located?
The approximate locations of major natural gas pipelines can be found online at National Pipeline Mapping System* or on socalgas.com . We also place pipeline markers next to our major pipelines near intersections or railway crossings. To learn more about the pipeline markers click here.

Q2. Based on population and pipeline locations, what is the designation for my City?
According to U.S. Department of Transportation guidelines, the Riverside County is designated as a High Consequence Area (HCA). To learn more about HCAs click here*.

Q3. How can I make my City more safe and save resources by preventing pipeline incidents?
Public officials are encouraged to work with contractors to have a valid 811 ticket before excavation. Contractors must do so by law. Homeowners should call, too. This is a FREE service and it can help prevent injury, costly property damage and loss of utility service.  An overview of the 811 process and best practices for safe excavation near pipelines and other underground utilities can be found here.

Q4. Can I rely on my sense of smell alone to be alerted to a potential gas leak?
Most of the time. However, there may be circumstances where you may not be able to smell the gas odorant, such as if you have a diminished sense of smell, the odorant is being masked by other odors or the odorant has been lost or reduced because of odor fade.
Learn here how your senses of sight and hearing can also alert you to a gas leak.

Q5. What should I do when there is a gas leak?
Leaking gas from any damaged pipeline or gas meter could cause a fire, explosion, property damage and serious bodily injury. If a gas leak is suspected, don't light a match, candle, or cigarette. Don't turn electrical appliances or lights on or off. Leave the area and from a safe location call us directly at (800) 427-2200 or 911. For more guidelines on what to do if you encounter a leaking gas pipe or meter click here.

Q6. If there is a major gas leak, how do I get emergency crews there as fast as possible? Work with the 911 dispatchers in your City to understand and follow the Pipeline Emergency Operations Standard.

Q7. Why does SoCalGas prune or clear trees in my City?
We must have unobstructed access along our pipeline right-of-way to maintain and operate our facilities and to quickly respond to any pipeline emergency. Furthermore, tree roots can damage our pipelines.

Q8. How should I coordinate City planning and development projects with SoCalGas if my community is growing?
Contact us and we can guide you through safe building around our major gas pipelines. We encourage you to review the information provided by the Pipelines and Informed Planning Alliance (PIPA) because the decisions you make can impact the safety of the community surrounding the pipeline.

Q9. What does SoCalGas do to maintain its pipelines and protect the public?
SoCalGas uses pipelines to deliver natural gas to residential and business customers for heating, cooking, manufacturing and other purposes. Because safety is our top priority, we implemented a rigorous Integrity Management Program (IMP), use the advanced safety inspection tools to determine pipe condition and maintain the safety of our pipelines. To learn more about the IMP go here.

Q10. Where do I get more pipeline safety information?
Go to socalgas.com (search “SAFETY”). You can also contact me by email at LPetersen@SempraUtilities.com or phone at 909-335-7631.