FAQ

  1. What is the issue with propane from Western Gas in the Midwest/Rockies region?
    We are conducting a voluntary safety recall to inspect propane distributed from our Newcastle and Hilight facilities in Wyoming, because certain propane loads from these facilities may not have contained a sufficient level of odorant. We believe the affected propane contains some odorant. Because odorant serves an important safety function, we are taking this issue of under-odorized propane very seriously and are cooperating with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to conduct a voluntary recall.
  2. Who does this impact?
    We sell propane primarily to wholesale customers, who then re-sell the propane to other customers and retail consumers. We are working with our wholesale customers to identify consumers who may be affected. To date, we have identified customers in the states of Wyoming, South Dakota, Colorado, Montana and Nebraska who may have received affected propane from various suppliers and retailers.
  3. What does this mean for me, the customer?
    The addition of odorant to propane increases the likelihood of detection of a potential leak. Although the affected propane contains some odorant, it may not have a sufficient level of odorant. If you think your propane might be impacted by this recall and/or you have concerns, please immediately contact your local propane supplier or call the Western Gas toll-free consumer information line at 833-444-1451 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. MT Monday through Friday.
  4. Has anyone been injured because their Western Gas propane did not have a sufficient level of odorant?
    We have received no notices of injuries related to this issue. It is important to note that we believe that the affected propane does contain some odorant, but may not have a sufficient level of odorant. Odorant is added to propane (which is odorless in its natural state) to help alert users to a gas leak from a propane tank, fitting or appliance. Failure to detect leaking gas can present fire, explosion and thermal burn hazards.
  5. What about those who have been using their propane tanks – is the propane safe?
    Using propane that does not contain sufficient odorant will not affect the functioning of any propane appliance. However, we want to ensure the propane we provide has a sufficient level of odorant, because the odorant serves an important safety function. If you are concerned that the propane in your tank may not have a sufficient level of odorant, you should immediately contact your local propane supplier or call the Western Gas toll-free consumer information line at 833-444-1451 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. MT Monday through Friday to determine whether your propane may be affected and, if so, arrange for a free inspection. If the inspection confirms that the propane does not have sufficient odorant, we will provide additional odorant or a replacement portable propane tank at no cost to you.
  6. What is “odorant” and why do you use it in propane?
    Because propane is odorless in its natural state, it is industry practice to add ethyl mercaptan to propane to help alert users to a gas leak from a propane tank, fitting or appliance. Ethyl mercaptan and methyl mercaptan are naturally occurring chemicals that are present in certain foods (like hazelnuts and cheeses) and in nature (like swamps and certain fossil fuels). Added to propane, it provides a distinctive rotten egg smell, allowing most users to detect a possible leak.
  7. Is mercaptan poisonous?
    Mercaptan can be harmful if inhaled or swallowed, and can cause allergic skin reactions. Mercaptan is added to propane in very low concentrations. Mercaptan emits a distinctive odor even at very low concentrations, which is why it is added to propane as a safety measure.
  8. When you say “may not have a sufficient level of odorant,” do you really mean no odorant?
    No. We believe that the affected propane does contain some odorant, but may not have a sufficient level of odorant. There may also be odorant residue in your tank that will blend with the propane to allow for leaking gas to be detected.
  9. Is propane poisonous?
    Propane is a commonly used fuel source for heating, cooling and other energy needs. Like any natural gas other than the air we breathe, breathing in or swallowing propane can be harmful. Propane takes the place of oxygen in the lungs. In sufficient concentrations, it can make breathing difficult or impossible. If you have medical concerns, call 911 for assistance.
  1. Will carbon monoxide (CO) detectors detect the presence of propane in a home?
    Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors will not detect the presence of propane in a home. If you think you have under-odorized propane, please contact your local supplier for an inspection. They will determine whether the propane has sufficient odorant and, if necessary, will provide additional odorant or a replacement portable propane tank at no cost to you.
  2. Is it safe to sniff propane?
    No, you should contact your local propane supplier to arrange for an inspection.
  3. Is there a number customers can call to find out if a propane tank is properly odorized?
    If you are concerned that the propane in your tank may not have a sufficient level of odorant, immediately contact your local propane supplier or call the Western Gas toll-free consumer information line at 833-444-1451 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. MT Monday through Friday to determine whether your propane may be affected and, if so, arrange for a free inspection. If the inspection confirms that the propane does not have sufficient odorant, we will provide additional odorant or a replacement portable propane tank at no cost to you. You can also email us at info@propaneawareness.com.
  4. How does this affect customers and suppliers?
    We are partnering with our wholesale customers and distributors to test odorant levels in propane tanks and add odorant as necessary, and we are working cooperatively with the CPSC to promote awareness and safety. While propane gas leaks are rare, we are taking this issue of under-odorized propane very seriously and are conducting this voluntary recall because odorant serves an important safety function.
  5. How do customers know if their product doesn’t contain sufficient odorant?
    We will assist your local propane supplier in conducting a free propane tank inspection. If additional odorant is needed, we will provide additional odorant or a replacement portable propane tank at no cost to you.
  6. What if the propane in the tank seems to have no smell?
    You should immediately contact your local propane supplier or call the Western Gas toll-free consumer information line at 833-444-1451 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. MT Monday through Friday and inform them that your tank may contain under-odorized propane. They will arrange for a free inspection to confirm whether the propane has sufficient odorant and, if necessary, will provide additional odorant or a replacement portable propane tank at no cost to you.
  7. Can’t customers just test their own propane?
    You should not test the propane yourself to try to determine if it has sufficient odorant. Testing should be conducted by a person trained to test odorant levels. Further, releasing propane from its container in order to perform a sniff test can, like a gas leak, present fire, explosion and thermal burn hazards. Please contact your local supplier to have your propane tested. You can also call the Western Gas toll-free consumer information line at 833-444-1451 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. MT Monday through Friday.
  8. If a tank is only partially full, will filling it solve the problem?
    Filling the tank may increase the level of odorant, but perhaps not to a sufficient level. It may be necessary to add “over odorized” propane to achieve a sufficient level. Please contact your local supplier or call the Western Gas toll-free consumer information line at 833-444-1451 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. MT Monday through Friday for assistance.
  9. What does it cost to add mercaptan to a tank?
    You will not be charged to add mercaptan to your tank to achieve a sufficient level of odor.
  10. If a customer wants to exchange their portable tank, how and where would they do this?
    You should contact your local supplier to determine whether the propane it supplied may be affected and, if so, take your propane tank to the supplier for an inspection so they can determine whether it contains a sufficient level of odorant. If necessary, the supplier will provide additional odorant or a replacement portable propane tank at no cost to you. You can call the Western Gas toll-free consumer information line at 833-444-1451 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. MT Monday through Friday to determine whether your propane may be affected.