What to Do If You Smell Gas
If you smell a hint of natural gas, leave the premises and call the City’s dispatch center at (650) 329-2579. If there is a significant smell of gas all around the area, leave the area on foot and call 911.
Promoting Gas Safety in the Community
Stemming from the City’s general concern for safety, CPAU sends out multiple gas safety outreach pieces each year and conducts telephone surveys about gas safety awareness. The results from these surveys guide the development of our natural gas safety education programs.
Proactive Gas Leak Surveys
These surveys are conducted to detect and repair damage before problems develop. Each year, CPAU completes a walking and mobile survey of over 200 miles of City gas mains, pipes, service lines, and meters. These surveys find few leaks, but if any gas leaks are found, they are documented and repaired according to CPAU’s policies. Read more about the walking and mobile gas leak survey.
Proactive Line Upgrade and Replacement
The City of Palo Alto is one of the leading natural gas utilities in the industry at aggressively replacing its natural gas pipelines prior to leakage or disrepair. As a proactive measure to provide safe and reliable natural gas service to residents and businesses and minimize natural gas leaks in the system, CPAU replaces approximately four miles of natural gas distribution mains and 300 individual natural gas services every two years.
This is used to control the corrosion of steel pipe lines. Corrosion of steel lines could lead to gas leaks, which could result in dangerous situations. To ensure your safety, CPAU staff members follow routes each month to check the steel system and to ensure that corrosion protection is working.
Excess Flow Valve
You may request that City of Palo Alto Utilities install an excess flow valve (EFV) on the gas line to your property. EFVs are mechanical shut-off devices that can be installed in the gas pipe running to the gas meter at your property (the “service line”). An EFV is designed to shut off the flow of natural gas automatically in the event of a substantial service line break, for example, by an excavation accident. Stopping the flow of gas from a broken service line significantly reduces the risk of natural gas fire, explosion, personal injury and/or property damage.
EFVs cannot be installed on some service lines due to high gas flow, low pressure or other factors. If you request an EFV, we will inform you if your service line can accommodate one. If an EFV can be installed on your gas service, you will be billed to cover the cost of installation. Each service line will be evaluated on a case by case basis for applicable fees. If it becomes necessary to maintain or replace the EFV on your service line, we will maintain or replace it at no charge to you. Please call Palo Alto Utilities Engineering at (650)566-4501 to inquire about having an EFV installed.
CPAU has over 2,900 isolation valves in the gas distribution system. These valves can stop gas flow to individual City blocks. All gas services have shut-off valves at each customer’s meter. If needed, the utility can isolate individual blocks of the system with existing valves or isolate from PG&E supplies to the City at CPAU receiving stations.