Recognizing natural gas leaks

When it comes to natural gas safety, it’s important to know how to recognize the warning signs of a natural gas leak both inside and outside your home and then take the necessary steps to ensure safety.

Natural gas is colourless and odourless, so in order for it to be easily detected an odourant called Mercaptan is added to give it a rotten egg smell.

Know what to do if you smell natural gas. The three R’s of natural gas safety are:
• Recognize the smell;
• React by evacuating the area;
• Report natural gas odours to Manitoba Hydro immediately.

Other warning signs that can indicate a natural gas leak outside may include dirt being blown in the air, continual bubbling in a ditch, pond or waterway, and/or patches of dead vegetation among healthy plants, and a hissing sound.

Leaks from gas pipelines, although rare, can be a fire hazard. If you think there may be a natural gas leak, do not use any electrical switches, appliances, telephones, motor vehicles or any other source of ignition such as lighters or matches.

If you suspect a natural gas leak of any type, react by evacuating the area immediately. If you are at home, leave the door open as you exit. Stay away from the area until safety officials say it is safe to return.

The next step is to report the smell of natural gas immediately. Call Manitoba Hydro at 204-480-5900 or 1-888-624-9376 (1-888-MBHYDRO) toll free and have the odour investigated. Manitoba Hydro employees are available 24-hours-a-day to respond to natural gas emergencies.
Visit for more information about natural gas safety.

Prepared by Linda Carter, PHEc
Manitoba Hydro