Emergency Hotline:

402.554.7777

24 hours a day / 7 days a week


What is an Emergency?

Gas leaks, odor of gas, damaged lines, carbon monoxide symptoms, water main breaks or no water service are all considered emergencies.

If you smell gas, do not attempt to locate the leak. Instead, leave the house or building right away. Do not use any electrical switches, appliances, lights, telephones, or mobile devices, as an electrical charge could create a spark. When you are in a safe place, call M.U.D.'s emergency hotline at 402.554.7777 or 9-1-1.

If someone is showing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, call 9-1-1 immediately. Symptoms are like the flu.

If you have a water-related emergency, call 402.554.7777. Our personnel are ready to assist you 24/7. When in doubt, call us immediately.

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FAQs-General

Natural Gas >> Safety

What should you do when the CO detector/alarm sounds?

Never ignore an alarming CO detector/alarm. If the detector/alarm sounds:

•Operate the reset button.

•Call your emergency services (fire department or 911).

•Immediately move to fresh air -- outdoors or by an open door/window.

If you smell natural gas

  1. Get everyone out of the building or area. From a safe location, call us at 402.554.7777 or 911 from a phone not located in the building. There is no charge to check gas leaks!
  2. If you smell an odor or know there is a damaged gas line, do not use any matches, candles, lighters, flashlights, motors or appliances. Don’t even use the light switch, telephone or cellular phone.
  3. If you detect a faint odor of natural gas, check the pilot lights. If the pilot light or burner flame is out, shut off the gas supply to the appliance. Allow ample time for any gas accumulation to escape before relighting.

How should a consumer test a CO detector/alarm to make sure it is working?

Consumers should follow the manufacturer's instructions. Using a test button, some detectors/alarms test whether the circuitry as well as the sensor which senses CO is working, while the test button on other detectors only tests whether the circuitry is working. For those units which test the circuitry only, some manufacturers sell separate test kits to help the consumer test the CO sensor inside the alarm.

Do some cities require that CO detectors/alarms be installed?

On September 15, 1993, Chicago, IL became one of the first cities in the nation to adopt an ordinance requiring, effective October 1, 1994, the installation of CO detectors/alarms in all new single-family homes and in existing single-family residences that have new oil or gas furnaces. Several other cities also require CO detectors/alarms in apartment buildings and single-family dwellings.

Should CO detectors/alarms be used in motor homes and other recreational vehicles?

CO detectors/alarms are available for boats and recreational vehicles and should be used. The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association requires CO detectors/alarms in motor homes and in towable recreational vehicles that have a generator or are prepped for a generator.

 

What is natural gas and its hazards?

What to do if you smell natural gas

  1. Get everyone out of the building or area. From a safe location, call us at 402.554.7777 or 911 from a phone not located in the building. There is no charge to check gas leaks!
  2. If you smell an odor or know there is a damaged gas line, do not use any matches, candles, lighters, flashlights, motors or appliances. Don’t even use the light switch, telephone or cellular phone.
  3. If you detect a faint odor of natural gas, check the pilot lights. If the pilot light or burner flame is out, shut off the gas supply to the appliance. Allow ample time for any gas accumulation to escape before relighting.

Natural gas is an economical, safe, colorless and odorless fuel. For easy detection, we add a harmless chemical to give gas a distinctive odor like skunk or rotten eggs. Natural gas is not poisonous, however it can displace oxygen in a room. Since it is lighter than air, natural gas dissipates quicker than propane or gasoline. While natural gas has a better safety record than any other major form of energy, its use requires caution.

Potential hazards include fire, explosion or suffocation, however natural gas alone will not burn or explode. It needs the right amount of air and an ignition source. More than half of the reported natural gas accidents are caused by people digging before utility lines are marked. Call 811 two business days before digging.

 

What is an excess flow valve?

You may request that M.U.D. install a mechanical shut-off device called an excess flow valve (EFV) on the natural gas service line to your property.  An EFV is designed to significantly reduce the flow of gas if the service line outside of the structure becomes damaged, lessening the possibility of a natural gas fire, explosion, personal injury and/or property damage.

Federal law did not require EFVs to be installed on newly constructed homes until June 2008. If your home was built prior to June 2008, you most likely do not have an EFV installed on the service line to your home. Customers who want to have an EFV installed on their service line that was installed prior to June 2008 may do so at their expense.

You most likely already have an EFV installed if:

  • Your home/building was built since June 2008
  • Your gas service line was replaced since June 2008

You may call Customer Service at 402.554.6666 to verify if you have an EFV on your service line.

EFVs are NOT designed to close if a leak occurs beyond the gas meter (on house piping or appliances). EFVs also may not close if the leak on the service line is small. If you add gas appliances, like a pool heater or emergency generator, there is a possibility that the additional gas flow may cause the EFV to close.

If you notify us that you want an EFV, we will contact you to set up a mutually agreeable date when we will install it. You will be responsible for the installation cost of $800 (installment plans are available).

Note: EFVs cannot be installed on some service lines due to high gas flow, low distribution system pressure or other factors. Each situation will be evaluated upon request.

For more information, call Customer Service at 402.554.6666.

Excess flow valve illustration

How do I know if I already have an excess flow valve (EFV)?

Federal law did not require EFVs to be installed on newly constructed homes until June 2008. If your home was built prior to June 2008, you most likely do not have an EFV installed on the service line to your home. Customers who want to have an EFV installed on their service line that was installed prior to June 2008 may do so at their expense.

You most likely already have an EFV installed if:

  • Your home/building was built since June 2008
  • Your gas service line was replaced since June 2008

You may call Customer Service at 402.554.6666 to verify if you have an EFV on your service line.

Who will install the excess flow valve?

If you notify M.U.D. that you want an excess flow valve installed on your natural gas service line, we will contact you to set up a mutually agreeable date when we will install it. You will be responsible for the installation cost of $800 (installment plans are available). For more information, call Customer Service at 402.554.6666.
 

Can excess flow valves be installed at multifamily dwellings?

Yes. Excess flow valves are also designed for multifamily residences that do not exceed volume restrictions. For more information call Customer Service at 402.554.6666.

Will an excess flow valve stop the flow of natural gas inside my home?

No. Excess flow valves do not protect against leaks beyond the meter assembly/house piping. If you smell natural gas inside your home, leave immediately and call M.U.D. at 402.554.7777 or 9-1-1 from a safe location.

Will events like severe weather impact the excess flow valve?

No. Excess flow valves are designed to operate only if there is damage to a natural gas service line that results in a significant leak or drop in pressure.

Excess flow valve illustration

How do I know if an excess flow valve can be installed at my house?

Due to operating characteristics and limitations, in some instances, excess flow valves cannot be installed. M.U.D. would need to make an evaluation to determine whether or not an EFV can be installed on your property. Each situation will be evaluated upon request. For more information call Customer Service at 402.554.6666.

How long will an excess flow valve last?

Excess flow valves are designed to last the lifetime of our natural gas distribution system. M.U.D. will maintain the EFV after installation just as we maintain our entire natural gas distribution system at no additional cost to the customer.

Will an excess flow valve protect against all types of gas leaks?

No. An EFV is designed to significantly reduce the flow of gas if the service line outside of the structure becomes damaged, lessening the possibility of a natural gas fire, explosion, personal injury and/or property damage. Small leaks which can also be dangerous over time may not be detected by the valve. Any time you smell natural gas, leave immediately and call M.U.D. at 402.554.7777 or 9-1-1 from a safe location.

Will the installation of an excess flow valve increase my gas use and my bill amount?

No. Installing an excess flow valve will neither increase nor decrease natural gas consumption at your home or business.

Natural Gas >> Cross Bores

Why are sewer laterals different than other utilities?

Prior to directional boring, M.U.D.’s construction crews call in a utility to locate and identify all the utilities that will be crossed by the new gas pipe. The construction crews then dig holes to expose each of these utilities at the point they will be crossed so they can visually verify the new gas pipe does not damage the existing utility as the gas pipe gets installed. Sewer laterals are a problem because they are owned by each individual homeowner and thus not located during a standard utility locate. So M.U.D. does not know where each sewer lateral is and therefore cannot visually verify it has not been damaged.

Why is the issue of sewer laterals coming to light now?

 

Generally, the city owned mainline sanitary sewer is installed very deep in the ground compared to the depth a gas pipe is installed. The previous thinking in the natural gas industry was the elevation difference was so great that there was a very low risk of damaging a sanitary sewer or sewer lateral. However, many sanitary sewers were installed years ago when standards were not as strict as they are today. Likewise, the standards for installing sewer laterals were not as stringent. Therefore, there are instances when the elevation difference is not nearly as great as what it would be by today’s standards.

Are cross bores just associated with the natural gas industry?

No, this is a problem that occurs with any company that installs its utility using directional boring. Many utilities including natural gas, power (electricity), telecommunications, and fiber optics are installed throughout the Omaha area and the rest of the nation using directional boring.

How frequently do cross bores occur?

Nationally, it is estimated there are two to three cross bores per mile of installed gas pipe. Based on the inspections performed over the past year, M.U.D. has seen quantities similar to the national average in Omaha.

Are cross bores a safety hazard?

Cross bores are not an immediate safety hazard. The normal waste water passing through a sewer lateral will not harm a gas pipe. Depending on the location of the cross bore, it may cause a sewer lateral blockage over time. Cross bores can become dangerous if someone attempts to clear the blockage using mechanical cleaning equipment such as augers that can cause the gas pipe to become severed causing natural gas to leak from the pipe and can lead to a deadly explosion.

A sewer lateral is generally installed in a downward slope from a home to the street. Because natural gas is lighter than air, it will go up when released to the atmosphere. If a natural gas pipe is severed inside a sewer lateral, the gas will try to rise which means it travels towards the home rather than into the mainline sanitary sewer.