How to detect natural gas

Natural gas is colorless and odorless. We add an odorant called mercaptan to natural gas which gives it a distinctive smell, similar to rotten eggs. You can use your senses to detect natural gas:

See – Blowing dirt, bubbling water or dead vegetation
Smell – Smelling rotten eggs, sulfur or petroleum
Hear – Hearing a hissing or roaring sound

If you see, smell or hear natural gas…
Stop what you're doing

Stop what you’re doing

Don't light a match or operate anything that could cause a spark. Don't open the windows.

Leave the area

Leave the area immediately

If you're inside, get out immediately. If you're outside, leave the area quickly.

Call us and 911

Call 911 and us

From a safe location, away from the building, call 911 and 1-800-634-3524, and wait for crews to arrive.

Be alert for carbon monoxide

We care about your safety, and it’s important for you to know the risks of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, non-corrosive gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, natural gas, propane or oil) burn incompletely.

If you think you have carbon monoxide build-up in your home or business, go outside immediately and call 911.

For more information on carbon monoxide safety, visit

Know the symptoms

Headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, irregular breathing, feeling ill or tired at home, but fine when away from home.

Stay safe with these tips:
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors; some models double as smoke detectors
  • Have qualified professionals service your appliances
  • Provide adequate ventilation in your home when using stoves, fireplaces or unvented space heaters
  • Don’t burn charcoal or run a generator indoors or in an enclosed space
  • Clean your chimney and check for blockage
  • Open the garage door before starting your vehicle

Learn more about automatic shut-off devices

We take a number of steps to help ensure safe, reliable natural gas service to your home or business:

  • Regularly inspecting natural gas equipment and rights-of-way
  • Replacing aging gas lines and modernizing our system
  • Giving advanced training to emergency responders and our employees
  • Our Gas Control Center operates 24/7 and uses state-of-the-art technology to constantly monitor certain aspects of our gas systems
  • Adding odorant to natural gas to produce a “rotten egg” smell if a leak occurs
  • Reminding everyone to always call 811 before digging in your yard
  • Recording the position of our lines with GPS technology

We also want you to know about automatic shut-off devices, which are an additional safety measure that are installed at certain points throughout our natural gas systems. Automatic shut-off devices are designed to operate like circuit-breakers, so when they sense operating pressure that is too high or too low, they automatically shut off gas flow.

We are continuously working to modernize our natural gas system and provide additional layers of protection. Here’s a quick look at the different locations where these safety devices may be installed:

  • Regulator stations: Strategically placed throughout the system, regulator stations are designed to control and adjust the flow of gas before it reaches the natural gas main line (typically located in or near the street, alley or easement) that serves your neighborhood
  • Service lines: This pipe runs from the main line to the meter that serves your home or business
  • Gas meters: Located at your home or business to measure the flow of gas

Work in your neighborhood

As we work with our contractor partners across Indiana to install additional automatic shut-off devices, you can expect:

  • In some cases, we may need to schedule an appointment with you to complete the installation
  • Columbia Gas crews and contractors accessing and monitoring our facilities in your neighborhood, which may lead to increased noise and vehicle traffic
  • Because natural gas lines are buried, in some cases we may need to dig to access our facilities during the installation process. We promise to restore any area that was disrupted as a result of our work

Learn more about Excess Flow Valves

Excess Flow Valves (EFVs) are a type of automatic shut-off device, which are an additional safety measure that may be installed on certain underground service lines running between the natural gas main (typically located in or near the street, alley or easement) and your gas meter.

Get your questions answered

What are EFVs designed to do?

EFVs are designed to automatically restrict the flow of natural gas if a service line is damaged or broken. Although not necessary for the normal, safe operation of a service line, a potential safety benefit is that EFVs automatically minimize or shut off gas flow if a service line is damaged or broken.

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If my service line does not have an EFV, can I get one installed now at my own expense?

Although an EFV is not necessary for the normal, safe operation of a gas service line, customers may have one installed on an eligible service line at their own expense. The cost of installing an EFV is expected to be $1,610, taking into account work time, materials and excavation. If you contact us at 1-800-464-7726 Option 3-3-1-5, we can assist you in determining if your service line is eligible for installing an EFV. If you decide to proceed with installation of an EFV and meet the eligibility guidelines below, we will work with you to provide it at a mutually agreeable date.

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How do I know if I have an EFV on my service line?

If your natural gas service line was installed after February 1999, it’s likely that you already have an EFV in place. If you would like to confirm that you have an EFV on your service line, please call us at 1-800-464-7726 Option 3-3-1-5.

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Which service lines are eligible for an EFV?

Many service lines are eligible for an EFV, but here are some conditions under which we would not install an EFV:

  • Gas deliveries on the line exceed 1,000 standard cubic feet per hour
  • The line does not operate at a pressure of 10 pounds per square inch gauge or greater throughout the year
  • There have been contaminants in the gas stream that could interfere with the EFV's operation or cause loss of a service to
  • An EFV could interfere with necessary operation or maintenance activities
  • An EFV meeting regulatory performance standards is not commercially available

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Where can I learn more?

This notice is being provided pursuant to a federal rule. If you are interested in learning more, please call us at 1-800-464-7726 Option 3-3-1-5.

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Am I responsible for maintaining the EFV?

No. Once installed, the cost to maintain and replace an EFV is the responsibility of NIPSCO.

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Has NIPSCO been installing EFVs on its service lines?

As part of our regular system maintenance and upgrade programs, NIPSCO has been installing EFVs on most eligible new and replacement service lines since February 1999. We also install EFVs as we replace eligible service lines as part of our ongoing system enhancement programs.

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Have an emergency?

Natural Gas: If you smell gas, think you have a gas leak, have carbon monoxide symptoms or have some other gas emergency situation, go outside and call 911 and then our emergency number 1-800-634-3524.
Electric: For any electric emergency, including a downed power line, power outage or other electric-related situation, please call 1-800-464-7726.