Decatur Utilities utilizing new technology to detect natural gas leaks

Decatur Utilities' headquarters (Photo: Al Whitaker, WHNT News 19)

DECATUR, Ala. – Crews from the Decatur Utilities (DU) Natural Gas Department will be utilizing new technology in 2019 to detect possible natural gas leaks in hard-to-reach areas.

The Gas Trac LZ-30 is a handheld methane-specific leak detector that provides fast, accurate readings at up to 100 feet using TDLAS (tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy) technology to detect methane gas, a primary part of natural gas.

Crews can use the detector in buildings through glass windows and in potentially hazardous situations.

“This is the latest evolution in gas detection technology,” said Jerry Parker, measurement and compliance supervisor for DU. “Customers could potentially see our crews using this device in their area – and notice the laser beam as it passes through a window. This is part of the normal operation of the device and is not harmful.”

DU reminds customers of the tell-tale signs of a possible natural gas leak:

  • A strong odor resembling that of rotten eggs
  • A loud hissing or roaring noise
  • Dirt being disturbed or bubbles in standing water
  • Isolated areas of dying vegetation

If you believe you have a leak, evacuate the area and call DU’s 24/7 utility emergency reporting line at 256-552-1400 and follow the system prompt.

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