Decatur Utilities inspecting neighborhood gas lines

DECATUR, Ala. – People in Decatur may notice someone going door to door over the next few months. But it’s not your mailman.

Workers are making sure your gas lines are in good shape.

A white Jeep with a blue fender is easy to spot. “They may see this Jeep going through their neighborhood very, very slowly. It’s nothing to be alarmed about,” Joe Holmes with Decatur Utilities said.

With bright vests and a highlighted map, the technicians are on foot patrol. “We’ve got about 600 miles of pipe in the ground,” Holmes said.

Going from home to home, Decatur Utilities hired Heath Consultants to make sure the company’s underground gas lines are holding up.

“They could be around the fitting on a gas meter. It could be a small fracture in a service line. Things that might not come to a person’s attention,” Holmes said.

As the contractors are walking along their route, they’re carrying what’s called an RMLD. It looks like a radar gun, but it shoots out two lasers. One of them is infrared that’ll beep if they pick up any amount of natural gas.

The inspection happens every fall. And neighborhoods are required to be inspected every five years.

“If you smell rotten eggs that we add to odorless natural gas, that’s a strong indicator that you have a leak,” Holmes said.

Holmes says a small leak that registers is a concern and is fixable, but not life-threatening.

The survey will be finished around Christmas. If you think you may have gas leaking on your property, you’re encouraged to call Decatur Utilities at (256) 552-1400.