Additive, not leak, causing gas smell in Wayne Co.

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Residents of northwestern Wayne County communities reporting the smell of natural gas don't have anything to fear, Consumers Energy officials said Wednesday.

Debra Dodd, a spokeswoman for the natural gas company, said the source of the smell reported in the Livonia, Northville and Plymouth area is a likely chemical added to gas to make it noticeable.

Natural gas is colorless and odorless. Utilities like Consumers Energy add a chemical called mercaptan, which gives gas a rotten egg-like smell so the human nose can detect it.


After the company investigated, it came to the conclusion that too much of the chemical was added to the system.

"We think we added too much odorant to the system and that's what's leaking into the atmosphere and what's causing a lot of concern this morning," she said. 

Dodd said the company has received more than 100 phone calls from customers about the smell.

Based in Jackson, Consumers Energy has about 1.6 million natural gas customers across Michigan.

"We think this is the problem, but if someone is smelling gas in other areas and they're still concerned, then they should call us," she said.

 To report a gas leak, call 911 or Consumers Energy at (800) 477-5050.