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Natural Gas Additive Spill Creating Foul Odor in Lake City

Submitted by Wendell Johnson, City of Lake City Manager

Lake City, Fla., – Natural Gas is an effective and reliable form of producing environmentally-friendly energy in many homes throughout the Lake City area. It is odorless by nature, and the City of Lake City uses a chemical “odorizer” to add a smell to the gas. This allows for easy detection of gas leaks, and many may be familiar with the “rotten egg” smell created by Mercaptan, or “Ethanethiol.” This clear liquid is an organic substance made of carbon, hydrogen, and sulfur, and harmless but pungent-smelling.

This morning, during maintenance to Lake City’s Natural Gas System, a canister containing Mercaptan accidentally released a small amount of the substance. In its concentrated form, this small amount released into the air has caused the distinctive odor to be present throughout much the city.

This gas is not dangerous and the public should not be alarmed. Further, if this odor is detected in outdoor areas, the Lake City Fire Department and Lake City Natural Gas Department are already aware and working on this issue.

“We are following our hazardous material procedure and working to mitigate the release of this substance,” said Lake City Fire Chief Frank Armijo. “There is no threat to the public, it just smells bad.”

Anyone who detects this distinct odor inside a building, such as a home or business, are still asked to call for assistance so a leak can be investigated and ruled out, however the public should not be alarmed if they smell this odor in outdoor areas.