Recognizing a leak


Because of Enbridge's thorough maintenance, testing, monitoring, training and safety programs, a pipeline leak is unlikely. However, should a break occur in a pipeline, it’s important for our neighbors to know how to recognize a leak.

Please call the toll-free, 24-hour Enbridge emergency number in your area, or an emergency number that you see on a pipeline marker, if you believe a pipeline leak is in progress.

If a pipeline leak involving crude oil, natural gas or natural gas liquids occurs, you might see:

  • Dirt being blown or appearing to be thrown into the air
  • A white vapor stream or mist-like cloud over the pipeline
  • Unexpected frost or ice on the ground
  • Water bubbling or being blown into the air; continuous bubbling in wet or flooded areas
  • Dead or dying vegetation in an otherwise green area
  • Discolored snow or vegetation
  • A dry area in a wet field
  • Flames coming from the ground or appearing to burn above ground
  • Liquid on the ground
  • Oily sheen on water surfaces

If you see:

  • a moist patch or pool of black liquid . . . it may be crude oil
  • a moist patch or pool of light brown or yellow liquid . . . it may be synthetic crude or condensate
  • a steam-like cloud, or a frost-like appearance on the ground . . . it may be a natural gas liquid
  • a dry area in a wet field, or flames coming from the ground or appearing to burn above ground . . . it may be natural gas
  • a cloud of steam or mist caused by condensation and freezing moisture . . . it might be a natural gas liquid
  • ice buildup on exposed pipe, and frozen ground around an underground pipe . . . it might be a natural gas liquid
  • yellow-stained snow . . . it might be an indication of a natural gas liquid accumulating under the snow

If you smell:

  • an odor similar to gasoline or diesel fuel . . . it may be a refined oil product
  • an odor similar to gasoline, but much stronger and less pleasant . . . it may be a natural gas liquid
  • an unusual skunk or “rotten-egg” odor . . . it may be a natural gas leak (N.B. Natural gas is essentially odorless. Mercaptan, an odorant that is sometimes added to natural gas in city distribution systems for safety reasons, produces a distinctive “skunk” smell. However, cross-country transmission or gathering pipelines, like those operated by Enbridge, typically transport natural gas without an odorant)

If you hear:

  • an unusual hissing, blowing, or roaring noise coming from the pipeline right-of-way, or a connecting facility . . . it could be a pipeline leak