National Fuel Gas answers "smelly gas" calls

April 16, 2008 5:33:41 AM PDT
National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp. crews have been busy with a smelly problem in about 850 Erie-area homes.

The gas company says too much mercaptan was added to natural gas, prompting hundreds of calls from residents concerned about gas leaks.

Mercaptan is a substance added so people can "smell" natural gas, which is actually odorless and colorless in its natural state.

The utility started getting calls Monday night and through Tuesday had logged some 850 complaints. By law, the company had to send crews to each home to make sure the problem was just too much mercaptan and not an actual gas leak.

NFG officials say crews did find small leaks at a few homes but, in most cases, the extra mercaptan was to blame for the smell.