Why We Odorize

Dan McCormack, P.Eng, VP Engineering
June 29, 2023
Why We Odorize

Odorant (mercaptan) is the number one safety program of any Propane or Natural Gas Utility.  For less than a dollar per year, per customer, the public is alerted to a gas leak and potential explosion.  These normally colorless and odorless gasses have their distinctive smells added to allow the public to be alerted to the danger of a leak.  

Odorization began after the tragic loss of life that occurred in New London, Texas in 1937.  Almost 300 people, mostly children, lost their lives when the odorless gas in the heating system leaked and went unnoticed. The gas was ignited by a spark in the school's shop and destroyed the school and killed hundreds.  Since natural gas in its natural state is mostly colorless and odorless, no one noticed the leak until the explosion occurred.


The reaction was swift, within weeks Texas began adding odorant to natural gas systems with the rest of the United States and Canada quickly following suit.

All States and Provinces now have legislation requiring that domestic natural gas and propane must be odorized and virtually every domestic natural gas or propane system in the world is odorized.

If the smell of either natural gas or propane are identified in your home or business, you must alert all occupants and exit immediately. Once safely far removed from the smell of gas or propane, the gas utility and fire department must be called and dispatched to safely manage the area and identify and repair all leaks.  The public can return to the affected buildings once authorities deem the area safe.

Tansley Associates is a full service odorant company supplying odorant, odorant equipment and odorant service and maintenance to customers throughout Canada and the United States.

If you have any odorant concerns or questions we would be pleased to talk to you.

If you have any odorant concerns or questions we would be pleased to talk to you. Call 403.569.8566