Utilities Kingston receives multiple calls regarding ‘rotten egg smell’

On the afternoon of Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, Utilities Kingston and Kingston Fire and Rescue responded to multiple calls from residents believing they were experiencing a natural gas leak.

At around 3:30 p.m., Utilities Kingston began receiving multiple calls from residents about a “rotten egg smell,” which is associated with natural gas. Kingston Fire and Rescue responded to over a dozen calls of this nature, primarily in central Kingston. According to Utilities Kingston, the smells have not been caused by gas leaks, but rather by an over saturation of the odourant added to natural gas called mercaptan.

“Although the smell of mercaptan is strong, the concentration is very low and there is no health and safety risk to the public or our workers,” Utilities Kingston said in a press release at approximately 4 p.m.

Mercaptan is added to natural gas by the utilities company before it is delivered to homes and businesses. This gives the natural gas the smell of sulphur, or ‘rotten eggs’ to help people detect leaks.

“We were conducting maintenance at our Railway Street natural gas regulating station, which reduced gas pressure, and didn’t reduce the odourant that is added,” Utilities Kingston said. “This resulted in over-odorized gas being distributed throughout the municipal gas distribution system in Central Kingston.”

Utilities Kingston technicians are investigating every complaint received.

“As we take the safety of the natural gas distribution system very seriously, we encourage the public to continue to report suspected natural gas leaks to Utilities Kingston at 613-546-1181, extension 2151,” the company said.

Utilities Kingston offers the following safety advice for those who suspect a gas leak inside:

  • Evacuate your premises.
  • Don’t do anything that could create a spark – don’t switch a light on or off, and don’t use cell phones or lighters, for example.
  • Call Utilities Kingston immediately from outside your home or building at 613-546-1181, extension 2151.
  • Don’t use lighters or matches, and don’t smoke.

Utilities Kingston offers the following safety advice for those who suspect a gas leak outside:

  • Call Utilities Kingston immediately at 613-546-1181, extension 2151.
  • 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.
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