H2S is a deadly gas that smells like rotten eggs and can be found in a wide variety of places. Although your first notice of the gas may be from smelling H2S in tiny quantities, the sense of smell should never be relied upon to detect whether or not H2S is present in a given area. There are some areas in San Antonio which have detectable amounts of hydrogen sulfide, such as sewers, landfills, and other industrial plants.


H2S is created from the anaerobic breakdown of organic sulfur containing matter. This occurs sewers, where liquid waste runoff is moved through the city. Workers have been killed because of entering a sewer system without first checking for the presence of H2S gas.


Garbage collection and landfills can also contain the matter and conditions needed to generate H2S. As with all wastes, care must be taken for proper disposal and personal protection. Refineries and paper mills are two of the most notorious types of industrial plants that release hydrogen sulfide. There are a few refineries throughout the South Texas area, and they all contain H2S. Certain industrial plants can contain chemicals that, when mixed, generate H2S–when acids are mixed with sulfur containing compounds, for example. If mixing is not expected, then an accidental release will take workers by surprise with troubling results.


Swamps or other pools of standing water and organic material can also generate H2S. The term “swamp gas” is actually synonymous with hydrogen sulfide. The gas is generated in anaerobic environments when sulfur consuming bacteria convert organic material.


In recent years, the oil and gas industry has grown up around San Antonio. Depending on the area, oil and gas operations can contain H2S as well. Workers visiting a petroleum operation for the first time may require additional training and protections prior to arriving on location. Older South Texas oil and gas operations have contained hydrogen sulfide for decades.


The human body also generates its own H2S in tiny quantities. Naturally produced in the body, this tiny amount of H2S actually serves an energy regulating function.

Suggested Training: San Antonio H2S Training

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