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Published:May 9th, 2013 11:09 EST

Natural Gas Smell: Scratch-and-Sniff Cards

By Robert Paul Reyes

"The smell of a suspected natural gas leak in Great Falls, Mont., Wednesday was traced to discarded scratch-and-sniff cards, a gas company manager said.


The cause, though, was boxes of scratch-and-sniff cards designed to educate customers what a gas leak smells like. The cards had been thrown out, then hauled away and compacted in garbage trucks, Nick Bohr, general manager of Energy West, said."


Natural gas doesn`t have any scent, but chemicals with a distinctive smell are added to gas so that customers will be aware of any gas leaks.

The scratch-and-sniff cards were given away to customers by the gas company as an educational tool. In a way the cards worked beyond their expectations, everybody blamed a gas leak for the odor caused by the scratch-and-sniff cards.

Several buildings were evacuated before the cause for the odor was discovered. In the future it might be a good idea to burn or bury any surplus scratch-and-sniff cards.

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