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The Energy Council

is a nonprofit trade organization that promotes safe and responsible oil and natural gas development in La Plata County. Individual and company members work to build community relations, increase public understanding, and address public issues relative to the industry.

Gas Tap Safety : Safety Recommendations

Qualified Work

The strongest recommendation regarding gas taps is to have the installation, testing and replacement of gas piping, gas equipment, appliances or accessories and repair and servicing of equipment performed only by a qualified individual or company. The National Fire Protection Association (authors of the National Fuel Gas Code) believe that fuel gas is potentially dangerous if not handled properly. Many states, counties and cities permit only licensed plumbers or gas fitters to install and maintain gas distribution systems and equipment. La Plata County highly recommends the use of a licensed plumber or gas fitter. La Plata County Building Department can provide assistance in determining qualified contractors in the area.

Periodic Testing

It is strongly recommended to have a gas tap and piping system tested periodically for gas leaks. Leak detection is best done by a qualified individual or company with the appropriate equipment. Please contact La Plata County Building Department or Fire Departments for information on testing.

Marking Gas Taps and Connections

In the event of an emergency, it is helpful for the Fire Department to know the location of gas connections and shut off valves. The international color code for gas is yellow. Painting valves and connections yellow will help emergency personnel locate and, if necessary, shutoff fuel supplies.


Natural gas has no smell until it is treated with an added "odor" (sometimes referred to as "stink" or mercaptan). Odorized gas may create unpleasant side effects in humans such as headaches or nausea, but more importantly it provides awareness of the presence of gas. Until treated, natural gas leaks are difficult to detect. Gas tap fuel is not odorized since it has not been through a treatment facility. It is strongly recommended that gas tap fuel be "odorized" by the landowner prior to residential connection.

Odorization is not a foolproof method of leak detection since the mercaptan supply depletes over time and some people are insensitive to the odor. However, it is a good safety practice and should be part of any gas system.

A list of odorization supplies and systems is available from the La Plata County Building Department.