New Natural Gas Customers
Natural Gas Safety Basics
Reporting Gas Odors & Emergencies
If you suspect a gas leak because:
- You see damage to gas piping, appliances or blowing gas (either foggy or clear) from outside excavation
- You hear hissing from gas piping, appliances or around outside excavation
- You smell gas inside or outside
Leave the building and call 508-947-1535 from a neighbor's yard or other safe location. Watch for the Middleborough Gas & Electric Department (MGED) truck to arrive and meet the representative at or near their vehicle. Call 911 if the odor is strong!
- Do not use phones inside the building - including a cell phone
- Do not turn on or off any electrical switches or appliances
- Do not open windows if the smell is strong
- Do not light matches, open flames, lighters, or cigarettes
- Do not use an automatic garage door opener or start any vehicle in an attached garage
- Do not re-enter the home unless cleared to do so by an MGED representative
Safe Practices Around Gas Pipes & Appliances
Keep your gas piping free from any stress to prevent damage and leaks. Your gas appliances should have plenty of space to breathe preventing the build-up of deadly carbon monoxide gas and keep them clear of any flammable materials.
- Be familiar with the pipes in and outside your home that supply natural gas and never use them to anchor a pet, suspend a clothes line or for any other support
- Keep the space around your furnace and water heater clear of debris or stored materials. These appliances have a pilot flame that could ignite flammable material
- Never use or store gasoline in the enclosed area where you use natural gas appliances. Gasoline and other flammable liquids create fumes that can build up and ignite. Keep containers and any used rags, tools and equipment in a separate area outside or away from the house
- Make sure your furnace and other gas appliances have nothing blocking their airflow and operate properly. Have a qualified technician inspect your heating appliances regularly to prevent build-up of deadly carbon monoxide
Call 811 for Dig Safe
If you are planning a project that involves digging, trenching, drilling, grading or excavating, you must call Dig Safe first to have the local utilities including MGED mark the location of buried lines before you dig. This is a free service and it is also the law. A damaged gas pipeline or service to a house may create an explosion hazard that could result in loss of vital service, severe property damage or worse. Those who don't call can be held liable. Don't take a chance. Call 811.
Carbon Monoxide - a Silent Killer
Any fuel burning appliance, including natural gas appliances, can produce carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas that builds up in enclosed areas and causes headaches, dizziness, nausea, fainting and with long-enough exposure, death. Make sure your fuel-burning appliances are installed, maintained and used properly and safely. That includes having a periodic inspection of the heating and venting equipment by a qualified technician and the use of a carbon monoxide alarm that meets current standards.
Snow & Ice Around Your Gas Meter
Snow and ice building up around your gas meter and pipes entering your home can cause damage as they melt and shift. Use a broom to keep gas service equipment clear during the winter. Chimneys and vents for gas appliances must be cleared following a major snow or ice storm to keep the vents open and operating to prevent carbon monoxide build-up.
Is Your Water Heater Set Too High?
Make sure your water heater is set to a safe temperature. Always check the water temperature before placing a child in the bathtub.
Some Buried Fuel Lines Could be Your Responsibility
Do you have buried natural gas lines for a pool, workshop, outdoor appliance or other use on your property? MGED maintains buried gas piping up to the gas meter on your property. All gas piping beyond this point is the responsibility of the property owner. Federal law requires that buried pipes should be:
- Regularly checked for safety and inspected for leaks by a qualified technician
- Periodically inspected for corrosion if the piping is metallic
- Repaired if any unsafe condition is discovered, or the flow of gas should be shut off
- Marked off before any excavation and digging near the pipe should be done by hand (call 811 for Dig Safe before any excavating is done)
To ensure the continued safe and reliable operation of these lines, the buried piping should be checked periodically. You (or the building owner) are advised to contact a licensed plumber or heating contractor to assist you in locating and inspecting your buried gas piping. If any unsafe condition is discovered, repairs should be made as soon as possible. The Yellow Pages are an excellent source for listings of licensed plumbers and heating contractors.
If we can answer any questions regarding this notice, please give us a call at 508-947-1535.
Special Concerns if You Have a Clogged Sewer / Septic Line After a New Gas Line Is Installed
Locations for private septic lines and older public sewer lines may not be known. While we make every effort to avoid other underground facilities, there are instances in which a natural gas line could intersect with a sewer line. If, after our mains or services have been installed, you find that your sewer line is clogged or backed up, please call Middleborough Gas & Electric Department at 508-947-1535 before anyone attempts to clear it. We will send a service technician to determine whether any potential conflict exists between the department's natural gas pipes and your sewer line. If someone uses specialized equipment in an attempt to clear a sewer line in conflict with our service or main, the service or main could be damaged causing a natural gas leak.
What to Do in the Event of a Disaster
Disasters can occur anytime and anywhere. In our region, we have experienced hurricanes, severe flooding and damage due to ice storms. You can protect your family and property by being aware of the hazards and knowing what to do.
- Call a qualified technician to inspect your gas system if you suspect damage
- Never turn gas service back on yourself - have it done by a professional or by MGED
- After a disaster, check for the odor of gas before entering any area; if gas is detected, leave immediately and call 911 or MGED at 508-947-1535 from another location
- Replace any gas appliance that has been submerged in water