Why you might not smell a gas leak in the southwest - Tucson News Now

Why you might not smell a gas leak in the southwest

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Source: Tucson News Now Source: Tucson News Now
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Southwest Gas is not alone in its effort to find the source of low levels of odorant in its gas and returning those levels to normal.

The company reported earlier in the month that roughly 300,000 customers would be affected by the issue, which means you may not catch a whiff of the typical rotten egg smell if there's a case leak.

Spokesperson Libby Howell said Sunday that it may take a while to fix the low levels because the summer is not a busy season for gas use, which means it will take a while for the new gas to cycle into homes and businesses.

"We're trying some new things to add some more odorant into the system but this is going to be a very slow process," she said.

The company has added supplemental odorant to its gas before, but Howell said a recent order of larger equipment should help to speed up the process.

The gas, which comes from the Permian Basin, has historically had naturally occurring odorant, according to El Paso Natural GasCompany spokesperson Richard Wheatley. El Paso Natural Gas is not the source of the gas, but the company that transports it.

Wheatley said the company is not required to help Southwest Gas in this situation, but it will because of the public safety of its customers.

Southwest Gas customers are not the only ones who may not smell a gas leak. New Mexico Gas Company is dealing with the same issue, according to spokesperson Teala Kail.

She said there are somewhere between 30,000 and 40,000 customers across the state affected by this.

Howell said that odorant levels are fluctuating, so an area maybe fine one day and have low levels the next.

"Overall I would say that the odorant levels in the system have not stabilized yet"

She said this is a first for the company, so everyone should know other ways to detect gas leaks besides the smell. They are listed below:

-Hissing or blowing sounds

-Standing water continuously bubbling

-Dirt or water blowing in the air

-Decay in vegetation

The situation has been reported to the Arizona Corporation Commission.

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