PIQUA — Calls to Miami County 911 and the Piqua Fire Department led to an odor investigation regarding a “strong odor of natural gas” on Monday afternoon.
A number of callers, from the north and central part of Piqua to as far west as Rakestraw Road, reported the odor.
The Piqua Fire Department was sent to investigate along with Vectren.
On Tuesday morning, Assistant Fre Chief Lee Adams said, “I spoke with a representative from Ohio Valley Gas, a local supplier of natural gas in Randolph County, Indiana this morning.
Yesterday afternoon, they responded to numerous calls around noon, similar to what we experienced in and around Piqua from 3:30 to 4:30 pm.
They tracked the source to a defunct ethel mercaptan storage tank that was moved by a private salvage company from Saratoga, Indiana to Hartford City, Indiana along Rt 28.
Ethel mercaptan is used as an odorizer in natural gas and propane. Releases of mercaptan vapors are often mistaken for flammable gases. These vapors are much heavier than air and may travel along the ground long distances with certain weather conditions. The wind Monday afternoon was blowing directly from the direction of this release.
The odorant qualities of mercaptan are so strong, it is detectable in air at exceptionally minute quantities. There is no danger of fire or health hazard in releases of this nature. The odor of gas does however cause justifiable concern when detected. Residents should continue to contact their gas supplier if they believe they notice an odor of gas.”