Identifying a Leak

Detecting a pipeline leak

Pipeline leaks are rare but it’s important for you to know how to recognize the signs of a leak. In most cases you may see, hear or smell the leak.

You may see:

  • Water bubbling in creeks, ponds and rivers
  • Amber or black coloured liquid
  • A rainbow sheen on the surface of water
  • Dead or dying vegetation on or near a pipeline ROW
  • Stained or melted snow or ice on or near the ROW

You may hear:

  • A hissing or roaring sound – oil and gas travel through the pipeline under pressure
  • Flowing liquid sound as pressure is released

You may smell:

  • Tar, oil, rotten egg, or skunk odour

What to do if a leak occurs

  • Leave the area immediately in an upwind direction and warn others to stay away
  • Do not light a match, start an engine, use a telephone or cell phone or turn on/off any electrical appliances, and avoid potential ignition sources which may cause an explosion or fire
  • Do not drive into an area where you suspect a leak or vapor cloud, and do not touch or operate pipeline valves
  • Avoid making contact with escaping liquids or vapors as potential hazards
  • Call ‘911’ or your local emergency services number from a safe location
  • Contact the regulatory agency by telephone