It was not a carton of rotten eggs creating a foul smell in Port Edward and Prince Rupert when Pacific Northern Gas (PNG) received more than 40 calls about a possible gas leak on June 30.
A smidge too much odourant had been added to the gas creating the sulphuric smell noticed by many residents. The situation was quickly corrected, the company stated in an email to The Northern View, on July 4, adding apologies for the incident were extended to the community.
Natural gas in its pure state is odourless, a PNG spokesperson explained. Mercaptan is a harmless odourant added to gas lines as a safety measure. Mercaptan’s odour is so pungent that only trace amounts are needed for it to be detectable by the human nose.
“A minuscule amount of extra mercaptan, in the range of 20 parts per million, was added to PNG’s gas line which caused a noticeable smell in some areas of Prince Rupert and Port Edward. There was no risk to the community,” the company stated.
PNG deployed extra technicians and it’s contractor to respond and ascertain the issue to address increased calls of concern and reports of gas leaks. A total of 43 calls were received.
“PNG and its contractor quickly identified the situation, and the levels of odourant being added into the natural gas were adjusted back down to normal levels. On Friday morning, we performed odourant sniff tests, using a tool that evaluates natural gas odour levels, and confirmed that the results were within the typical range,” the PNG spokesperson stated.
The odour was not indicative of a safety risk, and the public was not in any harm’s way.
PNG encourages members of the public to take the usual safety precautions if they suspect a natural gas leak and outlines the proper procedures.
These safety steps are:
• Stop what you are doing;
• Go outside; and
• Call PNG immediately at 1-800-663-1173
K-J Millar | Editor and Multimedia Journalist
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