At Washington Gas, safely and reliably meeting the energy needs of our
customers are our highest priorities. Please read the information below and

What to Do If You Smell Natural Gas
If you suspect a natural gas leak or
other gas emergency, evacuate the
area immediately and, from a safe
location, call 911 and then the
Washington Gas Emergency Leak
Line at 844-WASHGAS (Select
Option 1). Never attempt to locate
the source of the odor.
What does natural gas smell like?
Natural gas is non-toxic, colorless,
odorless and combustible. For safety
and detection, Washington Gas adds
an unpleasant odorant called
mercaptan to the natural gas delivered
through our distribution system. Call
202-624-6092 for a “Scratch & Sniff”
brochure. Government agencies and
officials, schools, businesses, property
managers and others are invited to
request multiple copies of the brochure
for public educations and awareness
Other Signs of Natural Gas
Because gas traveling through a
small portion of our transmission
pipelines is not odorized, you should
also familiarize yourself with visible
and audible signs of a possible leak.
Follow the same precautions
described below if you are outside
and smell gas; hear hissing or blowing
noises; see dirt being thrown into the
air; see fire coming from the ground
or appearing to burn above ground;
see water bubbling or being blown into
the air at a pond, creek or river; or see
a dry spot in a moist field or dead or
dying vegetation on or near a pipeline
If you smell natural gas, do not attempt
to locate the source of the odor.
Evacuate the area immediately and,
from a safe location, call 911 and
then the Washington Gas Emergency
Leak Line at 844-WASHGAS (Select
Option 1).
If the odor is very strong, or you hear
a blowing or hissing noise, vacate the
building or area immediately,
leaving doors unlocked as you go.
Warn others as you exit, if possible.
Do nothing that could create an
ignition source. Do not light a match
or use any type of phone or
battery-powered equipment. Do not
turn electrical equipment or light
switches on or off. Do not start a car or
any type of motorized equipment. Call
911 and the Washington Gas
emergency numbers listed above,
only after you are a safe distance
away from the building or area.
Gas Migration
Natural gas is distributed through a
network of underground pipes and
service lines. If a leak should occur,
it is possible for gas to migrate into
buildings, including those without natural gas service.

Washington Gas responds 24 hours
a day, seven days a week to address
natural gas leaks and other
emergencies. If a leak poses an
immediate threat, the company takes
quick action to make the area safe. If
a natural gas leak does not pose an
immediate threat, corrective action
may be scheduled for a later date.

Digging related damage is a major
cause of pipeline accidents. 811 is
the national Call Before You Dig/
Miss Utility telephone number that
initiates the process of marking the
underground utility lines in your yard
or on your job. Your call to 811 will be
routed to your local One Call Center in the District of Columbia, Maryland
or Virginia. Local One Call Center
personnel then notify member utilities,
such as Washington Gas, to mark the
approximate locations of underground
utility lines with high-visibility safety
paint and/or flags. The service is free.
Everyone, including homeowners
and construction companies, should
always call Miss Utility at 811, at
least two full business/working days
- excluding weekends and holidays before you are scheduled to begin any
digging, regardless of size or depth.
When using mechanized equipment,
it is required by law to call 811 before
you dig. Do not begin digging until the
lines have been marked or confirmed
as “no conflict.” If you are unsure
whether the underground utilities have
been marked in your yard or on your
job, check back with your One Call
Center to make certain there are no
underground utilities where you plan
to dig.
Most importantly, dialing 811 can help
avoid serious injury and even fatalities,
as well as property damage and
significant expense that can occur
when underground utilities are
damaged. Always call 811 before you
dig, each dig, every dig.
To learn more, visit


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