For Release: 01/16/2009
Rochester, MN – The strong smell throughout much of the Rochester area today is caused by a leak of the odorant injected into natural gas, not a natural gas leak of any kind.
Natural gas is odorless and the pungent smell is injected into the gas at several locations in the area. The extremely cold weather has caused some seals in an odorant container at a natural gas gate station on the west side of Rochester to contract, allowing the odorant to escape. Prevailing winds this morning from the west and south have pushed the odorant smell across much of northern Rochester from the west to the east. The cold weather is also preventing the odorant from rising into the atmosphere and dissipating.
Repairs were underway at about 8:15 AM this morning to stop the odorant leak. As temperatures rise, we expect the odorant to dissipate by mid to late morning.
If customers feel that they might have a natural gas leak at the meter of their premise or at natural gas equipment like furnaces or stoves, they should not hesitate to call the gas emergency line: 800-889-4970.