Philly Smell? Rotten Egg Sulfur Smell Blankets Philadelphia, Brings Gas Leak Fears

People in Philadelphia are turning to social media to complain about the rotten egg-type of smell in South Philly. According to Twitter, searches for terms like “Philadelphia smell” and “gas leak” have come in the wake of reports of the bad smell. As reported by 6ABC, the foul odor has caused a plethora of phone calls to come into their Action News station from Philadelphia viewers concerned about the source of the sulfur smell. And not only Philadelphia, but reports of the gas smell coming from viewers in Camden and Gloucester counties have come in as well.


However, according to NBC Philadelphia, Philly residents shouldn’t necessarily worry about a gas leak. The sulfur smell in South Philadelphia is related to a gas plant additive. The sulfur smell began at approximately 9:30 p.m., and is being attributed to a chemical additive that is normally added to gases in order to give it an odor — a common practice. Many gases are given an odor intentionally in order for them to be recognized as potential flammable substances, like gasoline’s odor. This time, too much of the chemical addictive was added — a fact that made some people in South Philly feel nauseated.


The smell traveled from South Philly and beyond, into North Philly and through Center City — as well as lower Bucks County. Meanwhile, folks are commenting on the Facebook page of Philadelphia Gas Works, asking about the smell and what it means. Some report that they’ve called Philadelphia Gas Works but have only received busy signals and couldn’t get through.

The following are comments on social media.

Gabrielle Cohen: “South Philly checking in too… Been calling for 30 minutes! Busy signal the whole time :(“

Christine Mance: “All of South Philly smells of rotten eggs and your emergency # is NOT WORKING???????”

Ria Love: “Everyone’s gas bill better be $0.00 next month or we’re talking class action buddy.”

Erin Cooper: “Queen Village too! No response from PGW. Please announce something.”

Ernest L. Salgado: “Please advise on the smell???”

Thalissa Wertheimer: “Washington square smells too, should we be worried?”

Gregory A. Desgrosseilliers: “Northeast Philly has the same problem.”

Stefan Hoimes: “Gayborhood, too. What’s up?”

Certain individuals didn’t stop at calling Philadelphia Gas Works, but instead called Philly’s 911 system, as well as fire departments in Philadelphia to check out the strong smell of sulfur. Philadelphia Gas Works sent crews to check out South Philadelphia, and by 11 p.m. it was discovered that the gas smell came from the chemical additive error that was added in excess at a South Philly plant, an act that is said not to be dangerous. The specific plant in South Philly has not been named. There also were no elevated natural gas levels in Philadelphia.


Whereas the sulfur smell began to reportedly lessen close to midnight on Friday, in the early hours of Christmas Eve, folks were still turning to social media to report smelling the bad smell in Philly. According to Samantha Phillips, the Director of Emergency Management for the City of Philadelphia, the smell was due to the sulfur additive — and not due to a dangerous gas leak across the city.

“Gas smell in city is caused by sulfur additive; is not a gas leak. @MyPGW is aware/responding. 911 is aware; coordinating with PGW.”

On Twitter, terms like “Philly gas,” “Philly smell,” and “Philly sulfur” have resulted in tweets like the following, with people complaining about how the gas smell has had an effect upon them.

“The stinky smell has reached Langhorne. It is literally burning my eyes.”

“Also the disgusting smell in the air isn’t just in Philadelphia considering I’m in Bucks County smelling this s***.”

[Featured Image by Rusty Kennedy/AP Images]