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Gas Department Frequently Asked Questions

There's an odor inside my house, what is it?
The odor could be from a natural gas leak or from sewer gasses. If it is a natural gas leak, leave immediately and contact the utility department at 618-548-2222 or 548-2232 from a neighbors phone. If you smell sewer gas, check to see if all sewer traps are filled with water and check to see if the cap on the sewer cleanout is tight. If the trap is dry, pour at least 4 cups of water into the line to provide a seal in the U of the drain, preventing the sewer gas odors from entering the house. If the sewer gas smell persists, call your plumber and have your system checked.

How can I detect a gas leak?
The smell is the best way to detect a gas leak.
Because natural gas has no odor, The City of Salem adds mercaptan a harmless odorant to natural gas, so that you will recognize its distinct “rotten egg” smell if there is a leak.

Procedures For Calling In a Gas Leak Call (Odor Complaint)

A Gas Leak Is An EMERGENCY Until Checked

Phone number to call: 618-548-2222
Salem City Hall - Utility Department
Normal Business Hours:
Monday thru Friday~8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
After hours Emergency number 618-548-2232

When a Gas Leak Call is called in the following questions will be asked. This information is needed to determine how best to respond to your needs.

Please note for your safety the "INSTRUCTION TO CALLER" information.

1.Who Is Calling?

2.Is There A Fire? Yes or No

3.What Is Address Or Location
(Please Get Good Directions)
4.Is Odor Inside Or Outside? Inside__Outside__

5.Is The Smell Weak Or Strong? Weak__Strong __

6.How Long Have You Smelled This Leak?

7.Can You Hear It? Yes ___No ___

8.House, Apartment, Business?
9.Time & Date Call Received Time & Date

Time & Date Call Dispatched Time __________Date ____________

Leave The House Or Area (If Smell Is Strong, Inside, Or If They Hear It)
Do Not Turn Anything On Or Off
Do Not Open Windows
Do Not Ring The Door Bell
Do Extinguish All Open Flames
Do Not Hang Up The Phone, Just Lay It Down

What should I do if I smell gas inside a building?
The following is a list of procedures to follow should you ever detect the smell of gas within your home or business. Following these steps will help ensure your safety as well as others.

1. Do not turn on or off any electrical switches or devices.

2. Extinguish all open flames. Do not use matches, cigarettes, or lighters.

3. Leave the building immediately. Open doors and windows as you exit the building.

4. Evacuate to a safe distance.

5. Call The City of Salem Utility Office at (618) 548-2222 or (618) 548-2232

6. Provide The City of Salem Utility Office with:
i. Your name and call back number
ii. The address or location of reported gas odor
iii. Description of where the odor is detected, for example, in the kitchen, outside by the gas meter, etc…

What should I do if I smell gas outside a building?
Notify The City of Salem Utility Office at (618) 548-2222 or (618) 548-2232 and provide the following information:

1. Your name and call back number

2. The address or location of reported gas odor

3. Description of where the odor is being detected

Do Not contact us via this Web site about a gas emergency

Is it OK to heat a room with a gas stove during a power outage?
No! Using a gas appliance improperly can cause it to take in too much oxygen from the air, leading to asphyxiation, or not enough oxygen, leading to carbon monoxide poisoning.

The same holds true for space heaters that burn fuel like propane or kerosene - these should never be used in an enclosed room. Never use a charcoal or propane grill indoors either.

The best way to stay warm during a power outage is wearing layers of clothing and blankets. A wood-burning fireplace or stove is also an option, but make sure it's in good working order.

How do I know if my gas connectors are safe?
If it's been more than 15 years since your gas appliance (especially an oven or clothes dryer) was installed or inspected, call a service technician to check the connectors and replace them if necessary.

Who do I call to have my underground utilities located?
Digging Responsibly is the Only Way to Dig.
The impact of unsafe or careless digging practices is real and often costly-in terms of personal injury and damage to underground lines, property and the environment.~ According to state law, anyone planning an outdoor project that requires any type of excavation, regardless of depth, should call JULIE first at 1-800-892-0123.

What Is JULIE?
JULIE, Inc. (Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators), also known as the “Illinois One-Call System,” is a not-for-profit corporation that provides contractors/excavators, homeowners, and others who may be disturbing the earth, with a free service through a single toll-free phone number (1-800-892-0123) to call for the locating and marking of underground utility facilities. Or visit

What Happens After the Call
Within two working days of your call to JULIE, a representative from each member utility company (not a JULIE staff person) will mark the location of their underground facilities with paint and/or flags at the excavation site. (See APWA approved Utility Markings Color Chart.) The utilities are only required to mark the facilities that they own, not privately installed lines or facilities such as house to garage or out buildings, gas grills, pool heaters, etc.

Avoiding Delays
Most locators will not enter your yard if pets are present or if a gate is locked. Make sure your property is accessible. Delays may occur if the locator is unable to mark the area.