A: Natural gas, in its natural state, does not have an odor. When natural gas is pumped to your neighborhood, an odorant, called mercaptan, is added to assist homeowners in detecting a leak.
The odor has been compared to the smell of rotten eggs and is quite noticeable.
A “whiff” of gas is signaling you of a problem. If you smell mercaptan (rotten eggs), immediately leave the building and call 911. Do not ignite a flame or turn on or off any electrical devices. Do not return until you are told that it is safe.
If you suspect a gas leak outside, either by detecting an odor of mercaptan or hearing a hissing sound coming from the ground, leave the area immediately and call 911. Abandon any equipment being used in or near the area.
If you are doing any home excavation projects such as planting a tree or building a fence, it is important that you contact Gopher State One. Call 800-252-1166 and a representative will mark all utility locations where you will be working.— Elk River Fire Chief John Cunningham