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Natural gas is formed from decomposed organic plants and animal matter. In its pure state, this clean burning natural gas has no odour and is tasteless. To help make natural gas detectable, an additive called Methyl mercaptan [Mur-cap-tan] has been added. This additive smells like rotten eggs, and is used as a safety precaution to allow even the smallest leaks to be detected. We adhere to strict safety measurements making safety to our customers and community our number one priority.

While natural gas is one of the safest fuels, small gas leaks can still occur. Knowing how to detect a leak can help reduce the risks to both people and property. The following 3 ways are how to determine if you may have a natural gas leak:

  • Smell It - In its pure state, natural gas has no smell or taste. As a safety precaution, a scent called methyl mercaptan is added to natural gas before it is delivered to your home. This odour smells like rotten eggs or sulphur so that natural gas leaks can be detected.
  • See it - Natural gas has no color and is clear, but it can leave behind visible signs of a leak including patches of dead vegetation, blowing dust from holes in the ground, bubbles in wet or flooded areas or even flames. In some cases, spotting vapours or ground frosting can suggest a high-pressure leak.
  • Hear It - A hissing or roaring noise along the right-of-way of a pipeline could also indicate a natural gas leak.

If you suspect or detect a natural gas leak indoors

  • Evacuate the building immediately
  • If you can do so safely, open all doors and windows
  • Call EPCOR immediately from an outside phone
  • Don't use anything that could create static or a spark, eg. Electrical switches, lighters, matches, cigarettes

If you suspect or detect a natural gas leak outdoors

  • Call EPCOR immediately
  • Keep clear of the area
  • Don't start any motors or motor vehicles near the area of the suspected gas leak
  • Don't use lighters or matches and do not smoke

How we will respond to each gas leak

In the event of a natural gas leak, we will respond immediately, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Crews will:

  • Respond to the incident site
  • Identify the source of the problem and ensure the emergency site has been cleared of anyone whose safety may be at risk
  • Make the situation safe
  • Advise the customer of their options with respect to the piping system or gas-fired equipment repair

Our number one priority is safety for our customers and community.

While natural gas is one of the safest fuels, small gas leaks can still occur. Knowing how to detect a leak can help reduce risks to people and property.

3 ways to help you determine if you have a natural gas leak

Smell it

In its pure state, natural gas has no smell. As a safety precaution, a scent called butyl mercaptan is added. This substance smells like rotten eggs or sulphur so that even the smallest leaks can be detected.

See it

Natural gas is clear and colorless, but can leave visible signs of a leak including patches of dead vegetation, blowing dust from holes in the ground, bubbles in wet or flooded areas, or even flames. In some cases, spotting vapors or ground frosting can suggest a high-pressure leak.

Hear it

A hissing or roaring noise along the right-of-way of a pipeline can indicate a natural gas leak.


What to do if you suspect or detect a natural gas leak INDOORS:

  • Leave the building immediately.
  • Keep all windows and doors closed.
  • Don't use anything that could create static or a spark – including light switches, lighters, matches, cigarettes, or even a phone.


What to do if you suspect or detect a natural gas leak OUTDOORS:

  • Keep clear of the area where you suspect a leak, preferably moving upwind.
  • Don't start any motors or motor vehicles near the area of the suspected leak.
  • Don't use lighters or matches, and do not smoke.

​Tips for staying safe around natural gas

  • Don't store flammable materials near natural gas-fired appliances.
  • Make sure your water heater is set to a safe temperature – if the temperature is too high, it can be a scalding hazard.
  • If your home or business was built after 1990, or if you've had work done to the natural gas system, corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST) may have been installed. If lightning strikes a structure containing improperly installed CSST, the lightning will travel along the structure's natural gas piping and could cause a leak or fire. Have a licensed professional inspect your building or home for CSST to ensure that it is bonded and grounded properly.