South Philadelphia

Philly, Don't Panic If You Smell Cabbage in the Air This Week

If you notice a cabbage-like odor in the air this week, don't panic. Operators at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery are removing a harmless but smelly gas

Philadelphians, if you notice something in the air that “smells like cabbage” at some point this week, don’t panic. 

Operators at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery, which closed after a dramatic fire and explosion last summer, will soon remove supplies of Mercaptan, an additive used in the refining process that has a cabbage-like odor. 

Firefighters said the work will last for a few days this week and residents throughout Philadelphia might notice the odor. Mercaptan is not hazardous. Firefighters still urged residents to call 911 if they believe they have a gas leak however.  

The same odor spread through Philadelphia last month leading to several offices in Center City evacuating when they initially tried to find the source. Health officials later revealed a cleaning had taken place at the South Philly refinery which led to the release of Mercaptan.

NBC10 cameras were rolling as an explosion occured at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery in South Philadelphia around 4:22 a.m. Friday, June 21, 2019.
Contact Us