Chicago: Snapshot of natural gas leaks under city streets

Leaked natural gas — mostly methane — is a powerful contributor to climate change.

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Findings

Our readings indicated an average of about one leak for every three miles we drove.

Readings are from September through December 2014 and may not reflect current leaks, due to repairs or other changes.

If you ever smell gas, or have any reason to suspect a problem, experts say to immediately exit the building or area, then call the authorities. For more see the Peoples Gas safety page.


About Chicago's natural gas infrastructure

  • Utility: The greater Chicago area is serviced by Peoples Gas, Nicor and North Shore Gas, although the areas mapped fall primarily within Peoples Gas territory. Most leaks don't pose an immediate threat to safety or health, but some can. We have shared this data with Peoples Gas.
  • Pipe materials: About 37 percent of the Peoples Gas pipes are made from cast iron or other corrosive and leak-prone materials.
  • Age of pipes: More than 38 percent of the pipes are more than 50 years old.

Live in Illinois? Ask state officials to address leaks

Not enough resources are being provided for repairs, so leaks can continue for months, and often years. Tell the Illinois Commerce Commission that this matters to you.

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If you don't live in Illinois, find out how you can help.