Gas Pipeline Safety

Gas Pipeline Safety

Underground natural gas pipelines run along public and private property, serving our homes, businesses and public places. Prevent damage to underground pipelines and know what to do if damage occurs.

Call Diggers Hotline

To protect pipelines and other underground facilities from accidental damage, call Diggers Hotline at 1-800-242-85111-800-242-8511 a minimum of three business days before digging. Diggers Hotline will notify MGE and other utilities to mark their underground facilities at no charge to you.

  • You'll know where it is safe to dig.
  • You'll avoid hefty fines for causing accidental damage because of digging without calling ahead.
  • It's the law.

Accidental damage during excavation is the greatest risk to underground natural gas pipelines. Even minor damage can cause a leak or failure.

Recognizing a Gas Leak

If you notice any of the following, call MGE's emergency phone number: (608) 252-1111(608) 252-1111 for Madison-area calls or 1-800-245-11231-800-245-1123 for long-distance calls.

  • Distinctive, harmless chemical odor MGE adds to natural gas
  • Dead or dying vegetation for no apparent reason
  • White cloud, mist, fog, bubbles in standing water or blowing dust
  • Unusual noise such as roaring, hissing or whistling

Learn more about Natural Gas Safety.

Respect Right-of-Way

The area along each side of the pipeline is called the right-of-way. The owner of the underground facilities has the right to restrict certain activities (even on private property). Right-of-way locations are usually on maps filed with local municipalities. Diggers Hotline can provide these details.

Pipeline Markers

Pipeline MarkerPipeline markers are sometimes used to indicate the approximate location of underground pipelines. Pipeline markers display:

  • Approximate location of pipelines.
  • Material transported in the line.
  • Name of pipeline operator.
  • Operator telephone number in case of an emergency.

Markers cannot be relied on for exactness. Because many lines are not marked, it is critical that you contact Diggers Hotline prior to any excavation.

Excess Flow Valves

MGE continually invests in pipeline integrity programs and maintenance that allows for the safe and secure delivery of natural gas. Since 2000, MGE has installed Excess Flow Valves (EFVs) on all new, replaced or reconnected natural gas service lines for single-family residences. EFVs reduce the risk of accidents in natural gas pipelines by automatically shutting off the gas between the gas main and the building it serves in the event of an increased flow of gas. An increased flow of gas can result from damage or breakage to the pipeline due to excavation or natural disasters.

In 2017, federal regulations were expanded to include installation of EFVs on all new, replaced or reconnected gas service lines for multi-family residences and small commercial buildings with capacities up to 1000 cubic feet per hour (CFH).

As an additional safety precaution, single and multi-family or small commercial customers (with capacities of up to 1000 CFH) may now request to have an EFV installed at their expense. The cost for installing an EFV is $1,200 and includes the EFV, excavation of the existing service line and any restoration to the property.

If you request the installation of an EFV, MGE will work with you to arrange a mutually agreeable installation date and time. For more information, please call 608-252-7333.

MGE's Commitment

We support safety education seminars for contractors, excavators and emergency responders. MGE works together and maintains a liaison with emergency responders and state and local agencies to prevent and prepare for emergencies.

MGE promotes public pipeline safety through:

  • Active membership in the Wisconsin Utilities Association.
  • Support of safety education seminars and online training for contractors, excavators and emergency responders.
  • Membership in Wisconsin's Diggers Hotline.
  • Design and construction practices.
  • Inspections.
  • Workforce qualifications.
  • Safety practices and government oversight.
  • Pipeline markers and facility mapping.
  • Public education programs.

As new technologies are developed in pipeline design, construction, inspections and operations, we will continue to invest in pipeline integrity programs that will allow for the safe and secure delivery of natural gas.

For More Information