Call Before You Clear: NW Natural's Sewer Safety Inspection Program

Media Contact: Melissa Moore, NW Natural, 503-818-9845 (pager)


January 27, 2016


Call Before You Clear: NW Natural's Sewer Safety Inspection Program

PORTLAND, Ore. — NW Natural’s (NYSE:NWN) is notifying its customers of an important safety matter: on rare occasions, a sewer backup could mean a natural gas line has accidentally crossed the sewer line.

If a sewer backup occurs, it’s important that plumbers first scope the line with a video camera. Attempting to clear a sewer line without first using a scope could result in the release of natural gas into the sewer system of a home or business, a potential hazard we want to prevent.

If a crossed line is suspected, call NW Natural at 800-882-3377. We will respond quickly, and if the gas line crosses through the sewer line, we will reroute the gas line at no cost to the customer.

"It’s important to scope prior to clearing a sewer line and also to call us,” said Ryan Van Gordon, NW Natural project manager. “These simple steps could prevent a potentially unsafe situation.”

How do lines get crossed?

A gas line can accidentally cross a sewer line if the sewer line wasn’t able to be located on a map or didn’t have tracing technology in it at the time the gas line was installed. Today, this problem is preventable because maps and tracing technology are improving. Plus, NW Natural now sends a video camera down the sewer line after installing a gas line with trenchless construction.

Proactively searching for crossed lines

In addition to asking customers and plumbers to take action, NW Natural is actively inspecting for crossed lines across its territory and will continue to do so over the coming years. Prior to inspection, occupants will be notified by mail and a door hanger. Property access will be arranged as necessary.

To learn more about the NW Natural’s Sewer Safety Inspection program, visit

About NW Natural

NW Natural (NYSE:NWN) is headquartered in Portland, Ore., and provides natural gas service to about 707,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. It is the largest independent natural gas utility in the Pacific Northwest. Additional information is available at

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