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Information about Mercury Service Regulators


Washington Gas is systematically replacing mercury service regulators across its jurisdictions. This type of service regulator, while an older vintage, operates as safely and effectively as other regulators across the system. The primary reason to remove these service regulators is to eliminate mercury from our environment.


Which customers are likely to have mercury regulators?

As part of Washington Gas’ program to replace mercury service regulators, Washington Gas will need to inspect meter locations at homes and apartment buildings throughout its system to determine the location of the remaining mercury service regulators. Only a small subset of our customers is likely to have a mercury regulator—less than 10 percent. These regulators were mainly installed in the 1950s and 60s, therefore, it is unlikely that any home built after 1970 has a mercury service regulator

Customers also may contact us to receive assistance in determining if they have a mercury service regulator. Residents who have questions may call 844-WASHGAS to determine if their regulator is a mercury service regulator and to schedule a replacement of it.


How do I determine if I have a mercury regulator?

Mercury-sealed regulators can be identified easily. They are always positioned horizontally to contain the liquid mercury content. The mercury cup is unique to these regulators.


Can Washington Gas help me identify if I have a mercury regulator?

Yes, we have set up a special email box to help customers get assistance in identifying whether they have a mercury regulator. Customers need to do the following: 

  1. Take a picture of the gas equipment (meter set and regulator) and email it to: Customers should include their name, address, contact telephone number and email address.
  2. Our operations team will review the photograph and respond to the customers to let them know if they have a mercury regulator within 3 to 5 days.
  3. If we confirm that a customer does not have a mercury regulator, we will notify the customer via email.
  4. If we determine that a customer does have a mercury regulator, customers may request that it be replaced.


Is my service regulator safe?

Yes. Service regulators—whether they contain mercury or not—are an extremely safe and reliable part of the natural gas delivery system to your home. They help regulate the flow of gas into your home appliances. In the exceedingly rare instance when gas may leak, you will notice the smell of rotten eggs. Should this happen, please call 911 and 844-WASHGAS and we will perform a service call.


Does a mercury regulator pose any danger to my family or pets?

No. The small amount of mercury is safely contained with the service regulator.  As long as it is not tampered with, or improperly removed by unqualified individuals, there is no increased risk of danger or exposure for you, your family or your pets. Do not allow anyone who is not a Washington Gas employee or a qualified Washington Gas contractor to remove or relocate your regulator.


Why is Washington Gas replacing mercury regulators?

As Washington Gas upgrades its infrastructure through replacement activities, meters and service regulators are also inspected. Mercury service regulators are often replaced when encountered during this work.  The replacement of these regulators is driven by the fact that they contain a small amount of mercury as part of each unit’s safety system. The mercury is safely contained within the service regulator as long as it is not tampered with, or improperly removed by unqualified individuals.

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