Since natural gas is colorless and odorless, we add a harmless, non-toxic chemical that makes it easier to detect a gas leak before it can create a hazardous situation. The chemical is called Mercaptan and smells a lot like rotten eggs. If you aren't familiar with it, we can provide a "scratch-n-sniff" card that provides you with a sample of the odor by calling our Customer Service center at 866-933-3820888-301-7700866-933-3821.
Natural gas is also lighter than air, so if it escapes, it rises into the air and dissipates quickly.
How to recognize a gas leak:
A gas leak is often recognized by sight, sound or smell:
- Dirt being blown or appearing to be thrown in the air
- Water bubbling or being blown into the air at a pond, creek, river or other wet area
- Fire coming from the ground or appearing to burn above the ground
- Dead or dying vegetation on or near a pipeline right of way in an otherwise green area
- Dry or frozen spot on the right of way
- Hissing, blowing or roaring sound
- Rotten egg odor of Mercaptan
If you suspect a gas leak:
- Leave immediately.
- Warn others to stay away from the area.
- Call Unitil from a safe location away from the gas leak. Also contact 911.
If you suspect a gas leak, do not:
- Use a lighter, match or candle, open flames or operate anything that could cause a spark (such as cell phones, lights, appliances, flashlights, garage door opener or power tools).
- Open exterior windows or doors in an attempt to ventilate.
- Try to find the leak yourself or operate any pipeline valves.
For more information on gas safety, please contact us at 866-933-3820888-301-7700866-933-3821.