Sewer Line Safeguards

Natural gas utilities across the country have discovered locations where natural gas pipes were inadvertently installed through sewer pipes. This doesn’t create a safety hazard so long as the natural gas pipe is undamaged. However, damage to natural gas pipes can occur when equipment is used to unclog sewer pipes. This can lead to a natural gas leak that could result in a fire or explosion, possibly causing injury or death to those who unclog the sewer pipes and to those in structures attached to the sewer pipe.


If you or your plumber sense or see that there might be an obstruction or blockage in the sewer line connecting a house or business to the main sewer line, call NMGC at 1-888-NM-GAS-CO (1-888-664-2726) to ensure that a gas line is not affected or has not been damaged. There is no charge for this service.

Clogged Sewer lines 

If your sewer line does back up, the safest method of clearing the blockage is to first have all underground facilities on your property located by calling 811. If it is determined that underground facilities intersect with your sewer line, a camera should be used to visually inspect the blocked line to ensure no gas pipes, cables, or conduit exist within the sewer line.

Take immediate action if you encounter any of the following signs when you, or your plumber, clean out a sewer line with a rooter device:

  • A natural gas odor at the cleanout or inside the building served by the sewer line, even if it’s faint or momentary.
  • Bubbles rising through standing water or in the toilet bowl.
  • Leave the area immediately and from a safe place, call 911 and NMGC at 1-888-NM-GAS-CO (1-888-664-2726) immediately, day or night. A NMGC representative will be there as soon as possible.

Plumber's hands with this tools in his hand.

A PVC natural gas pipe with examples of sewer, old and new gas mainlines.