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Odorized Natural Gas Safety Alert
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Are you protecting yourself, your workers, and clients when working with natural gas pipes, appliances, and equipment? Natural gas represents a potential risk at any construction site if not handled correctly, and the changing properties of odorized natural gas can pose a serious safety hazard.

Odorized natural gas may lose its scent due to "odor fade," which diminishes the detectable odor of gas in the air. Odor fade occurs more frequently in new steel pipe and in pipe of larger diameter and longer length if the pipe is not seasoned properly or there is little or no gas flow. However, odor fade may also occur in plastic pipe and smaller pipe installations, as well. Rust, moisture, liquids, and other substances in the pipe may also reduce the effect of the odorant, as can the gas's composition, pressure, and flow. Any type of pipe that leaks underground can result in odor fade due to the surrounding soil's absorption and oxidation of the natural gas odorant.

The United States Department of Transportation and California Public Utilities Commission provide rules and regulations for odorizing natural gas. Even when gas companies comply with these laws, odor fade may occur due to the chemical and/or physical properties in both plastic and steel pipes.

Always use gas detection devices when working with natural gas, and remember to purge the contents of gas pipes and equipment in an open space where there is good airflow.

Information on odor fade and natural gas safety is available on any of the websites for Southern California Gas Company, or San Diego Gas & Electric Company, or CSLB.    |    | previous