Natural gas smell permeates Long Sault

LONG SAULT – A piece of natural gas equipment failed Tuesday night resulting in a number of panicked phone calls from residents believing they had a gas leak.

“We had an over introduction of a chemical called mercpatan which we put into the natural gas to give it a smell so it can be detected in times of a leak. There’s a system that automatically injects that into the gas and, for some reason, too much has gone into the gas,” Union Gas spokeswoman Andrea Stass tells Cornwall Newswatch.

Stass says Union Gas had about 20 calls from homeowners yesterday and 16 on Tuesday, not including calls directly to the fire department.

She says the odour induction equipment has been repaired and, in order to get rid of the smelly gas already in the system, the company will be doing a controlled burn off.

“For the gas that’s in the system now the only way to mediate that is to actually get rid of the gas in the pipeline so we are doing that through a controlled release of gas…we are going to burn off that extra gas,” she said.

That’s happening this morning (Thursday) and will continue throughout the day at the Long Sault Arena under the supervision of South Stormont Fire and Emergency Services.

“If people are smelling the smell of natural gas and they think it’s a leak we still encourage them to call us because we want people to be safe. But we want people to be aware the smell of gas may exist throughout the day today,” Stass said.

The odour induction system services the entire town of Long Sault but Stass says people in the immediate area of the equipment – around Barnhardt Drive and Frost Avenue – started detecting the stench Tuesday night.

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