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That rotten egg smell could be a sign of a natural gas leak in your home

In July 2017, a natural gas explosion in Manor Township, Lancaster County, killed a UGI worker, injured three other people, and destroyed a home. Four other nearby homes had to be condemned.

“I just saw pieces of plywood and roofing and everything just go flying,” one neighbor said of the explosion. “huge cloud of smoke and ash. It felt like a movie, just surreal.”

The situation could have been even more tragic if not for the woman walking through the neighborhood who smelled the leak and reported it to UGI. 

Because natural gas is odorless (and colorless), a chemical called Mercaptan is added so leaks can be detected. The resulting smell is like rotten eggs.

If you smell rotten eggs, UGI recommends leaving a building immediately.

“Take everyone and pets with you,” according to UGI’s “Scratch & Sniff Safety Guide,” which the company mailed to customers with their monthly bills. “Leave the door open if possible, and proceed to a safe location where you can no longer smell the odor of natural gas.”

If you’re a UGI customer and you smell gas, you should go to a safe location and contact UGI’s gas emergency line at 1-800-276-2722 or 911. The emergency line is open 24 hours per day, seven days per week.


Other warning signs of a natural gas leak, according to UGI, include:

• Blowing dirt, grass or trees near a pipeline that is not caused by wind.
• Bubbling or blowing air in a pond or stream.
• Dead grass or plants in an otherwise green area.
• Flames coming out of the ground.
• Unusual hissing sounds.

If you suspect a natural gas leak:

• DO NOT use phones, computers, appliances, elevators, lamps, garage door openers or electrical devices if an odor of gas is present.
• DO NOT touch electrical outlets, switches or doorbells.
• DO NOT smoke or use a lighter, match or other flame.
• DO NOT operate vehicles or powered equipment where leaking gas may be present.
• DO NOT try to re-light a pilot light.
• DO NOT re-enter a building until it has been inspected by a UGI or other gas company technician.