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Natural gas in its natural state is colorless and odorless; therefore, Mercaptan is added to natural gas to make it easier to detect a leak. Mercaptan contains sulfur and is harmless, but does omit a pungent smell similar to rotten eggs. The type of Mercaptan used by the City of Tomball blends well with natural gas and, in a gaseous state, has many of the same properties of natural gas so it will rise and dissipate. Mercaptan is only used to ensure the safety of our customers and the community.
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Natural gas is a naturally occurring fuel extracted from within the earth, which is normally non-toxic, tasteless, colorless and odorless. It is not one gas but a mixture of various naturally occurring gases which vary between wells. Natural gas is primarily methane, but can also contain flammable gases such as propane, butane, carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Since natural gas is colorless and odorless in its natural state, it is mandatory by the Federal Government to use Marcaptan to make it readily detectable.
Leave the house immediately! DO NOT make calls from your house. Phones are capable of producing a spark, which could start a fire or trigger an explosion.
From a phone outside of your home, please contact:
DO NOT light a match or other combustible material! DO NOT turn any switches on or off and DO NOT plug or unplug any electrical appliance! These activities can all produce a spark that could start a fire or trigger an explosion.
Natural gas is lighter than air. If natural gas escapes into the atmosphere, it dissipates rapidly whereas a heavier-than-air gas, such as propane or gasoline, would settle and accumulate near the ground.
Natural gas is colorless. When mixed with the proper amount of air and ignited, invisible natural gas burns with a clean, blue flame. It is one of the cleanest burning fuels, producing primarily heat, carbon dioxide and water vapor.
Natural gas is odorless. When taken from the ground, natural gas is odorless. A harmless but pungent odor is added as a safety precaution. The odorant is so powerful you can smell even the smallest quantity of gas in the event of a leak.