Manhattan Fire Protection District
Manhattan Fire Protection District
People's Gas Maintenance Causes Natural Gas Odor in Manhattan
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By Public Education Coordinator Jackie O'Hara
November 2, 2018

People's Gas will be conducting a venting at the intersection of Smith Road and Eastern Ave for maintenance purposes throughout the day and possibly throughout the weekend. Residents may smell an unpleasant natural gas odor in the area. The odor is not dangerous or harmful in anyway and will be smelt outside. However, if you smell gas inside your home please, call 911.

Since we have received several phone calls in regards to the odor of natural gas caused by pipeline maintenance and to ease concerns about the odor, we'd like to explain why this smell is so strong.

Natural gas is a colorless, odorless fuel. For safety reasons, a chemical odorant called mercaptan is added for easy detection. This odorant has a distinctive “rotten egg” type scent. Currently, the pipeline is releasing mercaptan but not natural gas. Even the smallest drop of mercaptan will cause a strong smell.

Due to the wind and maintenance of this pipeline, this unpleasant smell will/has traveled throughout the area. HOWEVER, if you have the doors and windows closed and smell natural gas in your home, you should call 911 or if you start to experience headaches, dizziness and weakness, nausea and vomiting.

Typically, if you smell this odor in your home you should always follow these steps:

* Alert others and leave the area immediately.
* Leave the door open as you exit.
* Avoid using any sources of ignition, such as cell phones, lighters, matches, cigarettes, flashlights, light switches, landlines or starting a car engine.
* Call Nicor Gas at 888.Nicor4U (642.6748) or 911 once you are out of the area and in a safe place.

We hope this helps answer some of the questions about the smell that's surrounding our town. When in doubt, it's always best to go outside and call your gas company or the fire department if you suspect a gas leak in your home.

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