In the Event of an Emergency
Call 911 & Watertown Municipal Utilities Department
Hazard Awareness and Prevention Measures Like all forms of energy, natural gas must be handled properly. A gas leak caused by damage to a pipeline may pose a hazard and has the potential to ignite. Watertown Municipal Utilities Department works diligently to ensure pipeline safety through a variety of measures including:
- Coordination with SD One Call Call the toll-free number 811 or 1-800-781-7474
- Inspection programs and workforce qualifications
- Design and construction practices
- SD Public Utility Commission oversight
Watertown Municipal Utilities Department maintains an on-going relationship with local emergency response officials, in order to prepare for and respond to any pipeline emergency. In an emergency call 911.
Facts and potential hazards of natural gas:
- Pipelines carry gaseous material under high pressure.
- Natural gas is colorless and lighter than air.
- Natural gas is flammable.
- Any pipeline leak can be potentially hazardous.
Leak Recognition and Response
A gas leak is usually recognized by smell, sight, or sound:
- SIGHT Look for dirt being blown into the air, mist, fog, bubbling in standing water, fire coming from the ground, or dead or dying vegetation.
- SOUND Listen for any unusual noise like a roaring, blowing, hissing, or whistling.
- SMELL Notice any unusual odor. Natural gas is odorless. An odorant is added to natural gas to give it a noticeable odor. The chemical gives the gas a “rotten egg smell”.
What you should do if you suspect a leak:
- MOVE to a safe location immediately.
- CALL Watertown Municipal Utilities Department immediately at (605)882-6233. In the event of a fire or explosion, call 911. Do not assume someone else will report the condition. Give them your name, phone number, and a description of the leak and its location.
- DO NOT use telephones, strike a match, operate engines and motors, switch lights or appliances on or off, or even turn on a flashlight in the area you smell gas. These items can produce sparks that might ignite the gas and cause a fire or explosion.
The greatest risk to underground natural pipelines is the accidental damage during excavation. Even minor damage such as a dent, scrape, crease, or gouge to a pipeline may cause a leak or failure. Call before you dig! It’s the law.
Notify South Dakota One Call at 1-800-781-7474 or dial 811. It’s a free call and free service. The SD One Call will let us know who you are and where you intend to dig. The law requires that all persons planning excavations to give two days notice (excluding weekends and holidays) of their intent to excavate any area, including public and private property, where underground utilities may exist.
We ask for your cooperation and participation in this program to help prevent damage to underground utilities and to promote public safety.
Color Code for Marking Underground Utility Lines
Emergency Preparedness & Priority to Protect Life
Watertown Municipal Utilities Department is committed to public safety and environmental protection. If you are a public or emergency official, you know to take whatever steps you deem necessary to safeguard the public in the event of a pipeline emergency. The following suggestions are offered as a guide:
- Secure the area around the leak to a safe distance. This could include evacuations of nearby homes and businesses as well as barricades to control site access.
- If the pipeline leak is not burning, take steps to prevent ignition. Prohibit smoking, re-route traffic and shut off electricity.
- If the pipeline leak is burning, try to prevent the spread of fire but do not attempt to extinguish it. Gas vapors could explode when reignited by secondary fires.
Emergency Response Plans
Watertown Municipal Utilities Department works together with emergency responders, and state and local agencies to prevent and prepare for emergencies. We maintain up-to-date operations and maintenance procedures as well as emergency response procedures which are made available to local and state authorities.
The Watertown Municipal Utilities Department gate station is fenced and remains locked at all times. Watertown Municipal Utilities Department also performs routine patrols of pipeline right-of-ways to maintain safe operations of the pipeline.
The Watertown Municipal Utilities Department gate station provides a natural gas point-of-entry from our transmission pipeline suppliers. An odorant is added to the natural gas for safety and leak detection. This station also monitors the amount of incoming natural gas as well as customers. Please report any suspicious activities to Watertown Municipal Utilities Department at (605)882-6233 immediately.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that can accumulate within buildings from vehicles left running or blocked vent lines from heating or cooking appliances such as furnaces and barbecue grills. If you need to warm up a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting the ignition. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Have fuel burning household heating equipment (fireplaces, furnaces, water heaters, wood stoves, and space or portable heaters) checked every year before cold weather sets in. All chimneys and chimney connectors should be evaluated for proper installation, cracks, blockages or leaks.