How to Recognize a Pipeline Leak

Genesis Energy Public Awareness


Liquid pools, discolored or abnormally dry soil/vegetation, continuous bubbling in wet or flooded areas, an oily sheen on water surfaces, and vaporous fogs or blowing dirt around a pipeline area can all be indicative of a pipeline leak. Dead or discolored plants in an otherwise healthy area of vegetation or frozen ground in warm weather are other possible signs. Natural gas is colorless, but vapor and ‘ground frosting’ may be visible at high pressures. A natural gas leak may also be indicated by bubbles in wet or flooded areas, distinct patches of dead vegetation, dust blowing from a hole in the ground or flames if the leak is ignited.


Volume can range from a quiet hissing to a loud roar depending on the size of the leak and pipeline system.


An unusual smell, petroleum odor, or gaseous odor will sometimes accompany pipeline leaks. Natural Gas and Highly Volatile Liquids are colorless, tasteless and odorless. Gas transmission/gas gathering pipelines are odorless, but may contain a hydrocarbon smell.

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