Gas Pipeline Safety

In Event of Emergency,
Call SUB 256-249-0372 (weekdays)
or 256-245-6402(all other days)


Pipeline Purpose and Reliability

The United States relies on natural gas for nearly one-fourth of its energy. Natural gas is clean, convenient, and efficient, which makes it the country’s most popular home heating fuel. Each day, underground pipelines carry natural gas safely and efficiently to millions of homes and businesses across the United States. Natural gas is used to heat homes and businesses, heat water, cook meals, for many industrial processes, and as fuels for vehicles and electric power generation. In our community, underground pipelines provide natural gas service to homes, businesses, schools, and industries. Sylacauga Utilities Board operates a safe and efficient pipeline distribution network of stations, mains, services, and meters. Natural gas is purchased by the Sylacauga Utilities Board from major transportation pipeline companies at one of the city’s three (3) gate stations. It is then distributed to pressure regulating stations, then through main and service lines to your gas meter and into your home or business.

The pipeline transportation system in the United States is one of the safest and most efficient means of transporting energy products. The National Transportation Safety board has found that pipelines provide the highest level of public safety as compared to other transportation modes. Pipelines have fewer accidents causing personal injury than any other form of transportation, such as trucks, railroads, ships, and airplanes. In addition, pipeline operators are extensively regulated by Federal and State regulations with regard to design, construction, operation, and maintenance.

Safety is the number-one priority of America’s natural gas industry. At the Sylacauga Utilities Board, our main goal is to deliver natural gas reliably and safely to you, our customer. In doing so, we want you to know what to do if you ever smell gas or if a natural gas pipeline emergency occurs where you live or work.

Hazard Awareness and Prevention Measures

Like all forms of energy, natural gas must be handled properly. A gas leak caused by damage to a pipeline may pose a hazard and has the potential to ignite. The Sylacauga Utilities Board works diligently to ensure pipeline safety through a variety of measures including:

  • Coordination with Alabama One Call 1-800-292-8525
  • Inspection Programs and Workforce Qualifications
  • Around the Clock Emergency Response of Pipeline Personnel - Sylacauga Utilities Board Weekday Dispatch 256-249-0372 After Hours & Weekends 256-245-6402
  • Design and Construction Practices
  • Alabama Public Service Commission Oversight

The Sylacauga Utilities Board maintains an ongoing relationship with local emergency response officials, in order to prepare for and respond to any pipeline emergency. In an Emergency call 911.

Leak Recognition and Response

1. Potential hazards of products transported

  • Pipelines carry gaseous materials under high pressure
  • Natural gas is colorless and lighter than air
  • Natural gas is flammable
  • Any pipeline leak can be potentially hazardous

2. How to recognize a pipeline leak. Sight – Smell – Sound

  • Sight – Look for dirt being blown into the air, mist, fog, bubbling in standing water, fire coming from the ground or dead or dying vegetation.
  • Sound – Listen for any unusual noise like a roaring, blowing, hissing or whistling.
  • Smell – Notice any unusual odor. Natural gas is odorless. Sylacauga Utilities Board adds an odorant to natural gas to give it a noticeable odor.
  • Response to a pipeline leak
  • If in a building, ventilate by opening doors and windows if possible, then exit the building immediately.
  • If outside, immediately leave the area.
  • If possible, turn off any equipment being used and move upwind from the suspected leak.
  • From a safe location (neighbor’s telephone), call the Sylacauga Utilities Board immediately at 256-249-0372 (weekdays) or 256-245-6402 (all other times). In the event of fire or explosion, call 911. Do Not assume someone else will report condition.
  • Provide exact location, including any cross streets.
  • Avoid flames and operating electrical appliances and/or equipment. Do not smoke or light matches.
  • Do not use telephones (even cellular), flashlights or other items that can produce a spark.
  • Warn others to stay away.
  • Do not attempt to correct problem.

Damage Prevention

The greatest risk to underground natural pipelines is the accidental damage during excavation. Even minor damage such as a dent, scrape, crease or gouge to a pipeline coating may cause a leak or failure. Call Before You Dig. It’s the law!

Notify the Sylacauga Utilities Board by calling Alabama One Call at 1-800-292-8525. It’s a free call! The Alabama One Call will let us know who you are and where you intend to dig.

We ask all persons planning excavations to give prior notification to the Sylacauga Utilities Board of their intent to excavate any area, including public and private property, where underground utilities may exist. The Sylacauga Utilities Board will mark the location of their underground facilities in that area.

We ask for your cooperation and participation in this program to help prevent damage to underground utilities and to promote public safety.

  • Remember to “Dig Safely”.
  • Call Alabama One Call at 1-800-292-8525 before digging.
  • Wait for the site to be marked.
  • Respect the marks
  • Dig with Care.

Emergency Preparedness & Priority to Protect Life

The Sylacauga Utilities Board is committed to public safety and environmental protection. If you are a public or emergency official, you know to take whatever steps you deem necessary to safeguard the public in the event of a pipeline emergency. The following suggestions are offered as a guide:

  • Secure the area around the leak to a safe distance. This could include evacuations of nearby homes and businesses as well as barricades to control site access.
  • If the pipeline leak is not burning, take steps to prevent ignition. Prohibit smoking, re-route traffic and shut-off electricity.
  • If pipeline leak is burning, try to prevent the spread of fire but do not attempt to extinguish it. Gas vapors could explode when reignited by secondary fires.

Emergency Response Plans

The Sylacauga Utilities Board works together with emergency responders, and state and local agencies to prevent and prepare for emergencies. We maintain up-to-date operations and maintenance procedures as well as emergency response procedures which are made available to local and state authorities.


The Sylacauga Utilities Board gate stations are fenced and remain locked at all times. Sylacauga Utilities Board also performs routine patrols of pipeline right-of-ways to maintain safe operations of the pipeline.

Facility Purpose

The Sylacauga Utilities Board gate stations provide a natural gas point of entry from our transmission pipeline suppliers. An odorant is added to the natural gas at these locations for safety and leak detection. These stations also monitor the amount of incoming natural gas as well as adjust and regulate the pressures for distribution to our customers. Please report any suspicious activities to the Sylacauga Utilities Board immediately at 256-249-0372 during weekdays or 256-245-6402 at night or weekends.

Pipeline Location Information

Pipeline Markers

Natural gas pipelines will sometimes be marked with signs. Since pipelines are buried underground, the markers are used to indicate the pipeline’s approximate location. The signs generally will be located at major roadway and railroad crossings and at intervals along major roadways. Information on the sign includes the telephone number for reporting pipeline emergencies to the Sylacauga Utilities Board Operation Center. It also includes the toll free telephone number for the Alabama One Call Center.

Are pipeline markers and signs always placed on top of the pipeline? Not always. Markers indicate the general location of the pipeline. They cannot be relied upon to indicate the exact location of the pipeline they mark, the depth of the pipeline, or the number of pipelines in the vicinity.

Content on Operator Websites

Information regarding Sylacauga Utilities Board Pipeline Public Awareness Plan can be found by visiting .

Right-Of-Way Encroachment Prevention

Pipeline right-of-ways enable workers to gain access for inspection, maintenance, testing or emergencies. Pipeline right-of-ways must be kept free from structures and other obstructions. If a pipeline crosses your property, please do not plant trees or high shrubs on the right-of-ways. Also, do not dig, store, or place anything on or near the right-of-ways without first having the Sylacauga Utilities Board personnel mark the pipeline, stake the right-of-way and explain the utility construction guidelines to you.


Alabama One Call Center 1-800-292-8525
Sylacauga Utilities Board (256) 249-0372



Electric Power Lines, Cables, Conduit and Lighting Cables


Gas, Oil, Steam, Petroleum or Gaseous Materials


Communication, Alarm or Signal Lines, Cables or Conduit


Water, Irrigation and Slurry Lines


Sewers and Drain Lines


Proposed Excavation

 Please report any suspicious activities to the
Sylacauga Utilities Board immediately
at 256-249-0372 (weekdays) or 256-245-6402 (all other days).